Written with Anita Simons
Production, Cienega High, Tucson, AZ, 2021; Reading, Relative Theatrics, Laramie, WY, Sep. 2020; World Premiere, MiraCosta College, Oceanside, CA, 2009, dir. Eric Bishop; second place, KCACTF/ATHE David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, 2009; semi-finalist, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference, 2009; winner, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest, 2008; winner, Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival, 2008; second place, University of Akron Playwriting Contest, 2008; alternate, American Theatre in Higher Education Playworks 2008; semi-Finalist, Reverie Productions Next Generation Playwrights award, 2007; second prize, 2007 Oxford International Institute for Documentary and Drama in Conflict Transformation.
On a small, family-run dairy farm in Wisconsin in March 1945, a German-born widow and her children are struggling to make ends meet after the family patriarch has died. When they receive notice from the War Manpower Commission offering two Prisoners of War to work their farm, they eagerly accept the offer. But the German-American family and the German POWs bond too well for the townspeople to accept, and the widow is arrested, interned and eventually suffers a breakdown which tears her family apart. Based on true stories of many such arrests of German-American families during World War II, Heartland tells the story of what can happen when fear and prejudice pit neighbor against neighbor in times of war.
Cast size: 11 (4 W, 7 M). Some parts may be doubled.
A compelling story... well-structured... a large cast of diverse, complex characters, and dialogue is excellent. -- director Marshall Mason
It’s a testament to the writers… that we get completely caught up in the characters’ lives, while at the same time, we’re appalled by what their story tells us about our own history. – Pat Launer, San Diego Theatre Scene
This is a piece of U.S. history that all of us should know. To me, it demonstrates that none of us is safe from xenophobia, but also that our collective memory of imprisoning U.S. citizens continues to be eradicated, even when it's part of our own family stories. Perhaps if we knew our history better, we would be less likely to repeat it. – Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay
MiraCosta College production, directed by Eric Bishop