Cover art courtesy of TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley CA
Art direction/photography by Ev Shiro

Ambition Facing West

Anthony Clarvoe
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Winner of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Play


Three generations of a family move ever westward, restless, seeking. As they migrate from Croatia, through Wyoming, and on to Japan, the land of opportunity keeps moving, and the past keeps catching up. This unforgettable family provides an exquisitely rendered commentary on the human condition.

Production Info

Cast: 7 total (3 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 135 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“Smart, funny, provocative, a bit elliptical … Anthony Clarvoe’s account of the immigration experience, with a heavy shading of his own family’s story of leaving Croatia, is an admirable new American play … AMBITION FACING WEST is the story of three generations of Croatians and their determination to better themselves by facing constantly west. This gives the play a nicely circular construction both in space and time. Not only are the characters constantly on the move, but Clarvoe … gracefully maneuver[s] the characters back and forth in time. Most of the actors play two parts, usually two generations apart, which is another intriguing touch …” —Ed Siegel, The Boston Globe

“A moat surrounds the semicircular stage of AMBITION FACING WEST. It’s a striking symbol of both containment and freedom, the two opposing images at the heart of this sprawling, yet wonderfully spare play … AMBITION FACING WEST manages to cover enormous territory without overwhelming … The title, AMBITION FACING WEST, refers to the dreams of opportunity that have sent people westward throughout this century. Using the far-flung path of one family as his frame, Clarvoe opens in turn-of-the-century Dalmatia, but swiftly slips back and forth between 1940s Wyoming, 1980s Japan and 1910 Croatia. Throughout the journey, we see the eternal pull between parents and children — the desire to hold them close struggling with the drive to offer them something better … AMBITION FACING WEST resonates with impressive depth, and his words continue to ripple long after that moat water becomes quiet again.” —Terry Byrne, Boston Herald

About the Author


  • Anthony Clarvoe

    Anthony Clarvoe’s plays PICK UP AX, SHOW AND TELL, THE LIVING, LET’S PLAY TWO, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, AMBITION FACING WEST, WALKING OFF THE ROOF, CTRL+ALT+DELETE, THE ART OF SACRIFICE, GUNPOWDER JOE, and PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE and his translations of Henrik Ibsen’s GHOSTS and THE WILD DUCK are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. He has received American Theatre Critics, Will Glickman, Bay Area Theatre Critics, Los Angeles Drama Critics, Garland, Elliot Norton, and Edgerton New American Play awards; fellowships from the Guggenheim, Irvine, Jerome, and McKnight Foundations, National Endowment for the Arts, Theater Communications Group/Pew Charitable Trusts, and Kennedy Center; commissions from South Coast Rep, Mark Taper Forum, and Playwrights Horizons; the Berrilla Kerr Award for his contributions to American theater; and many others. He teaches dramatic literature at OLLI@UC Berkeley and playwriting in Oakland, CA. A native San Franciscan and long-time resident of New York City and the Midwest, he lives with his family in Berkeley, CA.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/12/2008
Pages 104
ISBN 9780881453683

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by Trinity Repertory Company, Providence MA

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Ambition Facing West is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


9/30/2016 – 10/16/2016
Puzzle Piece Theatre
Ferndale, MI