An emotional performance of “Ambition Facing West” will be performed March 9-24 in the Garvin Theatre. With the direction of Rick Mokler, one of City College’s regulars in putting on theatrical plays, the performance is meant to make the audience laugh, cry and at some point, be able to relate to the characters.
“People will see themselves somewhere in the play,” Mokler said.
“Ambition Facing West” is about the larger picture of immigrants as the story follows three generations of the same family, beginning in Croatia in 1910 and ending in the 1980s in Japan.
The play, unlike most others, deals with the past, present and future at the same time, in three places in the world: Croatia, Wyoming and Japan. In these different settings of the world, is the three generations of the family. According to Mokler, the family continuously moves west “in search of freedom” and following their dreams.
“It’s about the extreme measures we take to seek opportunity and freedom and for what we hope will be a better life,” Mokler said.
The son in Croatia wants to go to America and is also the father of a woman who wants to attend Stanford University. Once the daughter graduates from Stanford, she lands a job in Japan. She later then has a son who wants to follow his dreams of becoming a Buddhist monk, as she moves on with her career by moving back to Croatia.
Although the play is intended to illustrate three different surroundings, it only consists of one set. A dock with a small lake represents Croatia, a Zen garden for Japan, and a small porch at a home represents Wyoming.
“It’s an interesting play because there isn’t a lot of suspense,” Mokler said. “The play has more to do with imagery, the language and ideas. It’s a very theatrical piece.”
Illustrating this imagery lies in the consistent way of reiterating the theme. The theme behind the play is centered around “finding out who you are.”
The path of struggle to finding one’s true self, is one of the focal points of the play, along with the importance of family, Mokler said. Because the play sticks with the common theme of family, it focuses on what it’s like for both the parent and the child, to leave family and follow dreams.
“It’s a gentle play, with some heated moments,” Mokler said. He added the emotional moments between the parent and child relationships are prevalent throughout the performance.
The cast consists of 13, seven of whom are City College students. Mokler said he and the rest of the theater department had been following the play for a while and have been interested in making it from the script to the Garvin stage. In seeing the level of talent of the student actors, Mokler decided it was time for the production to be performed.
The play is intended to accurately portray one’s journey throughout life, including following ambitions, moving away from family and discovering who you will become.