John Walch's In the Book Of… Brings Immigration Debate Center Stage, Opening Jan. 8 at ASF

By Michael Gioia
January 8, 2012

Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents the world premiere of John Walch’s In the Book Of…, in which immigration has a political and personal impact on an army veteran and an Afghan refuge, opening Jan. 8, following previews that began Jan. 5, at ASF's Octagon stage.



Directed by Risa Brainin, In the Book Of… features Sarah Corey, Matt Dickson, Christopher Gerson, Rachel Leslie and Blair Sams. The limited engagement continues through Jan. 22.

In the Book Of…, according to press notes, "is a powerful play inspired by 'The Book of Ruth,' where two women—Naomi, an army lieutenant and Anisah, her Afghan translator—lose their husbands in the war. Upon discharge, the young officer sees the danger her translator is in, and brings Anisah with her to her home in Mississippi. When they arrive, this act of kindness is met with open hostility by Naomi’s sister-in-law, Gail, who is running for mayor on an immigration platform similar to HB56, and makes the immigrant’s deportment the focus of her campaign. But things get complicated when her own son stands up for what he thinks is right. Family, friendship, faith and the American Way are all tested in this funny, touching and timeless story adapted from the Old Testament."

ASF producing artistic director Geoffrey Sherman commissioned Walch to write In the Book Of… for the festival's Southern Writers’ Project. The play had an initial reading in May 2011.

Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Peter Hicks, costume designer Elizabeth Novak, lighting designer Tom Rodman, sound designer Richelle Thompson, fight designer John Manfredi, dramaturg Susan Willis and stage manager Betsy Ayer.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is located at 1 Festival Drive in Montgomery, AL. For more information and tickets, call (800) 841-4293 or visit www.asf.net.