Take Aways from the Cast’s Conversation with Cecilia Galante

Mount Hope housed around 367 people.

The Great House was the size of a barn and was filled with long wooden oak tables. Herbert lived in the Great House in this gigantic room that the men built for him on the side of the Great House. There was an enormous kitchen.

Herbert and Veronica lived lavishly in the commune. Herbert had a baby grand piano in his room, racks and racks of exotic wines, and an expensive stereo. The room was also used for prayer hour, where the adults would come in and listen to a sermon.

The commune made its money by having 150 men go out and work in neighboring towns and the checks they would make would go straight to Herbert. It is estimated that by the time Herbert had passed away, Herbert was a millionaire.

Herbert choose favorites from the commune and would grant them gifts. Doing this made the members of Mt. Hope feel inferior.

Herbert had no respect for the mothers, he would separate the children from their families for 6 months for 7 years, by doing this he created a bond between him and the children. Children didn’t trust their parents and didn’t have control over them.

Children depended on each other.

Honey and Mr.Winky were the lowest of the low – neither of them were rechristened.

Veronica, Herbert’s wife, was brought to Mt. Blessing at the age of 14. She was strikingly beautiful and had no fear. Herbert molded Veronica into the Virgin Mary.

Herbert was threatened by other relationships. He would have the husbands smack their wives, or humiliate them in front everyone.

Herbert was a very intelligent man. He had published a “newsletter”. He did not get into seminary and was bitter toward the Catholic faith.

There was only one nurse that lived in the commune. The finger incident actually happened.

There were only two asians and everyone else was white.

Mt. Hope was very isolated geographically.

Children had exceptional schooling. When the children were out into public school they all scored above average.

People were kicked out of the commune for various reasons. They had to prove themselves to enter back in.

Ascension Week – Women would prepare the food for the feast. Common Jewish delicacies were served at the feast. There was a major cleaning and decorating of the Great House. Children would decorate the Great House with palm leaves and draw pictures to hang for the feast.

It was not “dark” at Mt. Hope. It was very bright and beautiful which made it very confusing and foreboding.

Christmas – parents bought gifts for their children and Herbert would dress up as Santa and hand out the gifts to the kids from his room at the Great House.


June 17, 2015

Last night we finally received Draft 2! I got halfway through reading it and so far the fluidity has drastically improved.

I felt the first draft was very cinematic and took me out of the world of the play. With Sarah’s new draft, the flow is greater and the drastic turns are sharper. The play takes on a road trip-feel, with a longing for escape. The structure of the play is stronger.

After everyone received the new draft, we held a production meeting and heard from the designers. I think everyone on the team is on the same page.

But I need to finish the draft before I say anything more!

-Joshua L. Walker

Josh’s Journal

May 7th, 2015

I was put on as the Dramaturg for the Sarah’s play and I couldn’t be more honored. We already had callbacks. We had a introductory meeting with just Ben, Josh, Will, Sarah, Bill and I. In the meeting we went through what roles we all play in this process. I am going to continue to write and also create a website for all of the dramaturgy information and this will be a challenge because I don’t have much website experience. I am excited to not make a dramaturgy book. Labyrinth is my favorite descriptive word of Sarah’s play. Bill brought in a lot of great starting points for the whole team. I’m excited for draft 2 and for school to finish up.

-Joshua L. Walker

Josh’s Journal

March 30th, 2015

Tonight was the first reading of Sarah’s play, “I Know The Way Home.” I feel drawn to write down some of my first thoughts and reactions. Sarah grabs the audience with no hesitation, using a traditional Catholic prayer. Going into the reading I had spoken to Sarah before about the piece. She mentioned cults and it was an adaptation of her mother’s novel, I had no idea that I was going to experience two young girls that escape a terrifying world cult led by an abusive leader. Sarah kept the whole audience at the edge of their seats. The images are continuously playing in my head. I was taken aback by the feeling that I felt trapped with these girls. The book is a fictionalized account of what Cecilia Galante experienced while she was in Mount Hope Commune. (I just googled it, I had to check) Sarah tackles so many diverse themes, childhood abuse, race in the 1970’s, and so many others. The first draft kinks are there but the story is so enticing I overlooked most of it. I just took the story in and let it settle. I can’t wait to see what is next in this process and what the next draft brings.

-Joshua L. Walker

A List of Cults and Communes to look into:

The Manson Family 


“Manson” made in 1973 is a documentary that shows the Manson Family

The Peoples Temple 

Jim Jones was leader of the cult and in 1978 led over 900 people to link together and drink a poisoned juice. It is still unclear if it was a mass murder or a mass suicide.


Children of God

Also referred to as the “cult of sex,” Children of God was founded by David “Moses” Berg. Berg preached to his followers about evolution and the decay of mankind. Berg preached that sex with children was divine and allowed. The cult was extremely isolated and the females were used to hook in more followers to the cult.



The HBO documenty, “Children of God: Lost and Found”

The famous actress Glenn Close spent her childhood in a cult, Moral Re-Armament. It was led by an evangelical fundamentalist, the cult was located in Pennsylvania. Glenn Close wasn’t the only actress that grew up in a cult.