The Actor's Gang has performed for audiences in Los Angeles and throughout the world, on five continents and in 40 U.S. States

We Live On - The Actors' Gang

We Live On

  • 2021

  • Based on Hard Times by Studs Terkel

  • With additional text by Tim Robbins and The Cast

  • Directed by Tim Robbins

Cars waiting in long lines for food. People being evicted and their possessions being repossessed. Tent cities of the homeless and destitute rising up in places they had not been before. New immigrants being attacked and marginalized and blamed for society’s ills.

In 1970, Studs Terkel interviewed businessmen, auto workers, farmers, hobos, striptease artists, repo men, seamstresses, and labor leaders and asked them what it was like to live through the Great Depression. Their words of survival have a direct link to the challenges we face today.

Our Cast:

  • Louis Banks – Jeronimo Spinx
  • Dynamite Garland – Guebri VanOver
  • Harry O’Donnell – Mary Eileen O’Donnell (her father)
  • Martin DeVries – Josh Latzer
  • Anonymous – Stephanie G. Galindo
  • Ruth Gray Ratner – Hannah Hartman (her family friend)
  • Evelyn Finn – Jeanette Horn
  • Harry Hartman – Vincent Foster
  • Julia Walther – Dora Kiss
  • Marshall and Steve – Cihan Sahin
  • Olga & William Bostwick – Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer (Her Grandmother & Grandfather)
  • Slim Collier – Adam J. Jefferis
  • Dolores Huerta – Mariana Da Silva
  • Sally Rand – Patti Tippo
  • Jane Yoder – Gratiela Brancusi
  • Elsa Ponselle – Stephanie Pinnock
  • Jose Yglesias – Luis Quintana
  • Harry & Peter Loncka – Jeremie Loncka (His Grandfather & Great Grandfather)
  • Ed Paulsen – Miroslav Vejnovic
  • Hank Oettinger – Bob Turton
  • Horace R. Cayton Jr. – Stephan Smith
  • Lawrence Jay Zuckerman – Cady Zuckerman
  • Bob Stinson – Pedro Shanahan
  • Dr. David J. Rossman – Megan Stogner
  • William Kealohaonalani Sniffen – Kayla Blake (Her Grandfather)
  • Peggy Terry – Kathryn Carner
  • Cesar Chavez – Robert Chavez
  • Dorothy Day – Adele Robbins
  • Ernest Russell – Kaili Hollister (Her Great Grandfather)
  • Langston Hughes – Cyrus Roberts

About a year ago, on Hard Times’ 50th anniversary, faced with the inability to assemble in our theater, The Actors’ Gang started working via zoom to adapt Terkel’s Hard Times. The production explores 30 different stories – a mix of stories documented by Terkel and original stories from the family histories of cast members – of courage and determination, a testimony of what it takes to survive unprecedented times, which are now presented over three different performances.

Run time
We Live On is a piece born from loss and the limitations of lock down that seeks to create healing and catharsis and hope for a shook up world.
Tim Robbins

“We started developing We Live On in April of 2020 and it started with a question: How do we, as artists, address the fear of this time, the loss, the desperation, the lines at food banks, the poverty? We weren’t interested in distraction, or avoidance of this historic time we were living through. We wanted material that was challenging and addressed the difficulties of living in desperate times. At the same time, it was essential to tell the stories of survivors, knowing that the courage and resilience of those that made it through the Great Depression could provide inspiration and hope for our audiences today. I was lucky enough to meet Studs Terkel and interview him for LACMA before he passed. Studs was such an important documentarian of the human condition, of what it takes to survive through hardship. He has always been a hero of mine, a journalist that gave voice to the anonymous, the forgotten. These voices from Hard Times that Studs has left us, remain resonant and essential today, perhaps more so than when they were chronicled back in 1970, a reminder of the tenacity, faith and love it will take for us to rebound from the trauma, unprecedented isolation, and loss of loved ones that we have recently lived through. As actors, I think it’s important to find this kind of material to wrestle with. I’m blessed to have a company of actors that understand not only the importance of getting to the truth of difficult subject matter but also, in this challenging time of being apart, getting to that truth in community with each other. It is our hope to create that community throughout the world with our audiences in an intimate, personal and immediate way. We Live On is a piece born from loss and the limitations of lock down that seeks to create healing and catharsis and hope for a shook up world.” – Tim Robbins