A special connection between the new Out of Pocket, Inc. play “Now Circa Then” and the non-profit No One Left Behind is helping Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. military resettle locally in the Rochester area.
Stephanie Roosa, the Artistic Director for Out of Pocket, and Ellen Smith, the Rochester Chapter Coordinator for No One Left Behind, discussed the supportive collaboration Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.
“The show takes place in ‘Now’ time, and it’s two people playing reenactors of Jewish immigrants in the early nineteenth century,” said Roosa of the play. “So they go in and out of the character and we’re able to see it’s kind of a reminder that we all started somewhere – and now versus then, what melds from their character themselves as well as what characters they’re playing.”
Remaining performances of “Now Circa Then” are this Thursday through Saturday, November 1, 2 and 3 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center on Atlantic Avenue in Rochester.
“This show deals with immigration,” Roosa explained. “So Out of Pocket is theatre with a purpose. So all of our shows, we find organizations we can work with on productions and my husband had heard Ellen speak at a function at McQuaid and we thought it would be a great combination of the two just because there’s so much similarities of what some of the people were bringing over and helping become U.S. citizens face, as well as these characters in the show itself.”
No One Left Behind, founded by Army veterans Matt Zeller, aims to save the lives of those who have helped save countless American lives. “We resettle Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters and support personnel and whose lives are in danger from the Taliban and ISIL because of their service to the U.S. and they can’t stay in their country safely,” said Smith. “They must be brought here if they’re going to live.”
Smith said over the last four years, No One Left Behind has helped 257 people resettle. “We meet and greet them at the airport. We find them a place to live. We pay first month’s rent and security for them. We buy their food for them, their first food, and then after they get fifty hours volunteer time with our organization we help them get their license and we buy them a modest vehicle that’s three thousand dollars or less, or we get vehicle donations as well.”
Last weekend’s shows raised over $300 to assist No One Left Behind. “We started our organization 11 seasons ago,” said Roosa. “It gives me goosebumps when I think about what we’re helping to do.”
You can purchase tickets at the door, or ahead of time online at MuCCC.org.
For more information about Out of Pocket, visit outofpocketinc.com.
For more information about No One Left Behind, visit NoOneLeft.org or search for the page on Facebook.