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Published on Nov 19, 2008
No Strangers Here Today is a stirring movement monologue with live music that dances between personal memory and American history from the Civil War to the present. Susan Banyas' Quaker Great Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Edwards, kept a diary during the Civil War with coded phrases suggesting her participation in the great socio-political movement called the Underground Railroad.
This vast and allusive bi-racial social network defied the federal government, and, through great personal risk, demanded an end to the slaveocracy, the slave system supported by both the South and the North. The memory network that arose from that time continues to symbolize freedom seeking and vigilance against economic, political, and personal tyranny by the master class. No Strangers Here Today is written in solidarity with the Ancestors who lived through those times and inspired this vision.
This collaboration between Portland, Oregon writer and movement artist Susan Banyas, and Los Angeles jazz artist David Ornette Cherry, is directed by choreogrpaher Gregg Bielemeier and theatre artist Gwynne Warner. Development of this work is funded in part by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) and a commission from The Library Foundation of Los Angeles.