Monday, August 16, 2010

An Excerpt From Lillian Alling: Ellis Island

Registry Hall, Ellis Island

Act 1 | Scene 2

Like thousands and thousands and thousands of others
She came with hope
But no real plan,
Following a man
And the promises he made
The promises of the New World...

VOICES are heard, offstage and overlapping, but ringing clear:

Italian Voice: Il nome? (My name?)

German Voice: Mein name? (My name?)

Spanish Voice: Me llamo (I am called-)

Another Italian Voice: Mastrangelo!

Another German Voice: Edelssohn!

Another Spanish Voice: Ortega!

Lillian: Mee-nya zah-voot Lillian Alling! (My name is Lillian Alling!)

Jimmy puts the truck in gear and backs out. Irene watches Lillian as long as she can.


Like thousands of others she said to herself,
"I will never again live like before-
Will not be ashamed,
Will not be poor,
Will not be afraid anymore!"

The truck disappears from view.

A swarm of immigrants suddenly surges forward, all around Lillian. It is early spring 1927 on Ellis Island in New York City harbour.

Lillian: Pah-zhal-stuh - Pah-zhal-stuh! (Please - Please!)

All Italians (shouting) / All Germans (at the same time):
Siamo qui (We are here)
Wir suchen (We are seeking)
Per lavoro (For work)
nur Arbeit (Only work)
E Liberta! (And freedom!)
und Freiheit! (And freedom!)

All Spaniards & All Greeks (at the same time):
Venimos (We come)
Ee-ma-steh el-tho (We are here)
Por trabajo (For work)
yia thu-leh-ah (For work)
Y libertad! (And freedom!)
keh eh-lef-the-ria! (And freedom!)

Lillian: (her voice rising above the others, as she pushes forward)
Mee-nya zah-voot Lillian Alling!
And yes, I can speak almost English
I come for to be with Jozef Nikitich
He is here now three yeras,
Work in a factory,
I will work too,
We will be married,
Have money for everything.
I will find him,
No matter how long it takes me,
I will find him,
No matter how far...
My life is bound to his life!
And I will never again live like before,
Will not be ashamed,
Will not be poor,
Will not be afraid any more!