ROSS VALLEY PLAYERS present their RAW (Ross Alternative Works) 2014 Spring Festival, today, April 18 through 27, featuring the World Premiere of Giovanni is Here by Mercedes Cohen. Each season, RAW presents two festivals of short works or full-length plays, selected for their quality and originality. Each play is a short run production with minimal set pieces with full sound and lighting. Giovanni is Here is directed by Michael Cohen. For more information, visit http://www.rossvalleyplayers.com.
Giovanni is Here centers on the relationship of a young Jewish woman who is hidden by a Catholic family and the struggle to survive World War II after Italy becomes a German occupied country. Belle (Jocelyn Roddie), whose pregnancy adds an additional responsibility, earns her keep by making dresses that Maria (Arden Kiler) and Nonna (Maureen Coyne), the grandmother, sell and trade on the black market. The dangers of war, occupation, and survival form the backdrop as Maria and Belle discover their conflicts and ignorance. These two young women from seemingly opposite backgrounds share this time when uncertainty pressed in from all sides. Belle's husband Benjamin (Clay David) relates his fears and anger as he works with the partisans. Maria's fiancé, Carlo (James Montellato) changes from an immature joker to a disillusioned war veteran and Angelo (Peter Weiss) finds courage inside himself to risk everything by his illegal actions. Nonna, who has already been through war, and a lifetime of survival, vows to do whatever she needs in order to save her family. Each person's survival depends on finding inner strength and hold on to hope, love, and laughter. It's a triumphant story of rescue and resistance.