Critical Response

LAYER THE WALLS was developed as part of New Victory LabWorks during the 2015-16 season. When we chose them to participate in the program, we knew that they would create a well-executed, quality work for young audiences that has the potential to become a quintessential American production.
— Mary Rose Lloyd, Director of Artistic Programming, The New Victory Theater
The girls were enthralled by how the stories were told. The “human-ness” of immigration stories came to life through the emotions of the actors on the stage which has been harder to teach in class.
— 4th Grade Teacher, Chapin School

“Liz Parker and Rachel Sullivan magnificently act and portray the stories of 3 immigrant families in unique ways … Despite the hardship, prejudice, and poverty, each family chooses to stick it out.  Each believing that life is still better living in a world of hope than perishing without it. Each family has fled a life of famine, unemployment, or genocide. These are our grandparents and great-grandparents.  They are also immigrants of our own generation.

In these highly charged political times, it’s good to remember that we all have a similar story – whether from another century or from today.  And, yes, there were always people throughout the years who didn’t want any more people to settle here. That’s not a new problem.

Even though this show predates current politics, it stands as a reminder that immigration is our heritage.  No one wants to leave their home unless they have to. It should also remind us that where we go may not be any kinder to us than what we left behind, but it’s the hope for something better, that keeps us moving forward.  Isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place?” Amy Wall Lerman, Motherhood Later

“I loved seeing how entranced my girls were by the show. Their excitement was palpable afterwards.”
— 2nd Grade Teacher, Chapin School
It felt very realistic like, I know it’s a puppet, you know it’s a piece of wood that’s designed to look like a human but I could, you know, I felt it, I felt kind of a connection, I felt the struggle, I felt how scared certain characters were at certain times. It was very descriptive and, you know, realistic.
— Tyler, 7th Grade Student
You were able to build off almost nothing and bring out a ton of props, the confetti snow, everything was really shocking. I thought, how could a person start off with nothing and create such enourmousness?
— Laura, 7th Grade Student
I think I noticed how there’s a lot of discrimination against certain groups now. And I noticed even though the groups in the play had a lot of discrimination against them, there still was so much hope and that’s really relatable to now.
— Wyatt, 7th Grade Student
You didn’t just use one style and stick with that one style. You used the puppets, you used the shadow puppets and you just used your normal acting and the masks and you made it look like it really was different stories because you made it look all really separate but at the same time there’s a connection to all of them.
— Liza, 7th Grade Student
My favorite part was definitely the second act where it was the Italians coming over because I have first generation Italian family memebrs that came over here and they were fishermen and they did sell newspapers and they would tell me their experiences of how they were actually rejected from selling because they were Italian. They would definitely like the show too.
— Faith, 7th Grade Student