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Historic Dramas
A sign listing the details of the Monongah disaster. Monongah Heroine Statue & surrounding graveyard

Prayer of America

Monongah, West Virginia


The hope and optimism of the turn-of-the-century American immigrant story is turned on its head when hundreds of them are killed through the country’s worst coal mining disaster. Near the site of the explosion in Monongah, West Virginia, the citizens of a small town in Italy erected a statue to commemorate the wives—children clinging to their sides—who were left alone in a foreign land where they didn’t speak the language and were removed from their extended families and their customs. Without a husband to provide for them, or an extended family to help care for the children, they still somehow found a way to survive. This play is their story, commissioned through a $25,000 grant by the State of West Virginia Department of Community Affairs.

The play has a special resonance for organizations interested in the promoting the history of West Virginia through the production about the state’s history. Coal miners, and immigrant groups will also find a particular interest in the show, as will those interested in exploring and celebrating the roots of legendary Alabama Football Coach, Nick Saban. The easily transportable production also will return to the people who built the monument that inspired it for a show at the University of Calabria.

Words from the Playwright

International Travel

CALABRIA/BASILLICATA: Return to the beautiful town in Southern Italy that is connected to the story of one of America’s greatest tragedies, San Giovanni In Fiore, whose regional government placed the statue in Monongah commemorating their natives who died in the Monongah mine disaster. Walk along the narrow lanes of the hilltop towns and stroll the exotic beaches of Calabria, the infrequently traveled, but stunningly beautiful, region in Italy from which so many of Americans trace their origins. Calabria’s mountains cascading into the spectacular Mediterranean and Ionian Sea make it one of the few places in the world where you can ski and swim in the same day. Points of interest include the fresco-covered seaside town of Diamante; Maratea, Italy’s version of Rio de Janeiro; and the ancient city of Matera, where The Passion of the Christ was filmed.

Matera, Italy Calabria, Italy
Calabria, Italy
Matera, Italy

American Immersion Experience

WEST VIRGINIA’S COALFIELDS OF DESTINY: Coal country of northwestern West Virginia is home to a number of great football coaches all within about a thirty mile region. In addition to Alabama’s Coach Saban, the region also claims Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fischer and former West Virginia head football coaches Bill Stewart, and Rich Rodriguez, who is currently head coach at Arizona and was earlier at Michigan. Inherent in their stories is the story of towns and people forged in the shadows of steel towers and coal tipples; immigrants desperate to find a new lives in a new world who were the fuel which the coal and steel industry used to forge a great industrial nation. From the hard lives of hard people was born a unique breed of football legend. Here is where their stories are told, an essential part of the great American Epoch. The once thriving and industrial epicenters of towns like Clarksburg and Fairmont, are beautifully set in the sharp valleys and ravines of the West Virginia Mountains.

Monongah Heroine Statue Monongah, West Virginia

Perform Prayer of America

The script is available for any producing organization. World Communities can also partner with a school, theater, or cultural institution to produce the show. This play delves into worlds both foreign and domestic. Either the international travel experience or the cultural immersion can be arranged and hosted by World Communities, making the production of this play a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.

Perform Prayer of America

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