6026 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Emma’s Parlor is a play about the life and times of Emma Goldman, who was born to a Jewish family in 1860’s Russia. The show begins with Emma’s emigration to the U.S. in 1885, and moves through her life as a factory worker, anarchist, and lecturer. Toy theater and puppets employ illustrations from the late 19th and early 20th century. Artists Martina Plag and Lorna Howley use everyday objects one might find in a parlor, of that same period, as playing spaces. A phonograph becomes a café filled with anarchists, a radio serves as Emma’s lectern and a birdcage is becomes a prison.
The artists note: “Our zeal to reveal Goldman’s life and beliefs as a free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the United States because of her outspoken views helped inspire this piece. As did co-performer Plag’s shared immigrant, working class journey, of uncelebrated Jewish ancestry in America. Much like Goldman herself, our toy-theatre adaptation uses wit and humor to illuminate history from below. Toy-theatre presented itself as the perfect medium through which to explore this story, it allows us to focus in quickly at a small scale to address grand issues. And its inherent dichotomy of scales excites us very much and gives us much to push against.”
The Emma’s Parlor program was presented at Wyck in honor of Wyck’s own Jane Bowne Haines (1790-1843), and Jane Bowne Haines II (1869-
1937). Jane Bowne Haines joined organizations promoting education for the poor, prison reform, and the abolition of slavery. Jane Bowne Haines II founded the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women in 1910. The entire Women’s History Series at Wyck is inspired by the wondrous women of Wyck’s past, to continue their legacy of innovation, education and equality.
Thank you to everyone who came to the program! Below are pictures from the day: