Drama, Song and the Spoken Word
written and directed by Dr. Von H. Washington, Sr.
Well-known Toronto-based mezzo-soprano and performer, Ali Garrison and her highly esteemed colleague, Dr. Von H. Washington, Sr. (American theatre professional for forty years) are touring their latest and much anticipated theatre project, In Search of Giants.
This production, about a personal journey leading to the discovery of three significant leaders on the Underground Railroad, has been playing to full houses and standing ovations since it began touring Michigan in November 2015. There have been numerous performances since, along Michigan and Ontario Underground Railroad routes, including Schoolcraft, Kalamazoo, Albion, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Toronto. Next, on our Underground Railway Tour, In Search of Giants comes to Old Sandwich Town (now part of Windsor), Ontario, at the old courthouse, MacKenzie Hall on Saturday May 27th, 2017.
In Search of Giants is a staged dramatic reading in the traditional style of the Afrikan Griot, but uses more than one storyteller. It features modern-day American storyteller, Dr. Von H. Washington Sr. The casts have also included the following American and Canadian performers: Ali Garrison, Von Washington, Jr., Michael Ray Helms, Romeo Phillips, Bianca Washington, Sharron Russell, Dwandra Lamkin, Tim Smith, Alicia Payne, Janai Travis, Duff MacDonald, Darryl Huggins, and Kwanza Msingwana.
Ali Garrison, who in this production sings and plays both herself and her own great, great, great grandmother, shares these thoughts: “In Search of Giants is a powerful and moving piece about how when we explore the past, we understand ourselves better, which inspires a more informed future. I have spent the last year researching and digging deep into my own Abolitionist ancestral roots to find various narratives from different perspectives that serve as a basis for our work together. Dr. Washington has influenced my own artistic development greatly and it is my pride and pleasure to bring him and the cast to “The Promised Land” to share our creative discoveries with Canadian audiences.”
In a perpetual search for information about his ancestral past, a local college professor makes several unannounced visits to the Underground Railroad Museum in Schoolcraft, Michigan. His first visit, revealing and mysterious, brings him closer to understanding the struggles of the conductor of the house, Dr. Nathan Thomas, a Quaker by birthright. In an unrelated meeting, the Professor comes into contact with a descendant of the Thomas family and learns more about Dr. Thomas’ wife, Pamela, and the Freedom Seeker and fellow Abolitionist, Henry Bibb, who visited the Thomas house in 1844 and went on to settle in Canada. Doc also learns about a conjuring technique and a narrative story that was written by Bibb himself before his death in 1854. During a second visit to the museum, the professor goes to the room where hundreds of enslaved ancestors were hidden while waiting to go on to freedom; and there, to his surprise, he successfully conjures the spirits of Henry Bibb and others who join in to aid him in telling their stories of running toward freedom on the Underground Railroad.
For further information and bookings contact:
in Canada – Ali Garrison:
in the US –Dr. Von Washington, Sr. :