November 1–25, 2012
Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East
at Noh Space and Joe Goode Studios
Building on the success of our tenth anniversary festival in 2009, ReOrient 2012 will turn San Francisco into a Mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. With 11 fully-produced short plays by playwrights from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, England, and the U.S. presented in two series simultaneously, the latest ReOrient promises to be a one-of-a-kind exploration of this unique region and its theater, stories, and artists. To add to the conversation, Golden Thread will host the ReOrient Forum November 17–18 at Theatre Artaud—a weekend of artistic dialogue, presentations, and performance.
SERIES 1 November 1–25, 2012 at Noh Space
> War and Peace
by Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, directed by Hafiz Karmali
Acclaimed Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim's War and Peace presents Politica, a vivacious woman, who must choose between her domineering husband War and oft-disappointed lover Peace. Funny and subtle, this symbolic short play could keep a senior seminar in a political science department busy for weeks.
> The Birds Flew In
by Yussef el Guindi (world premiere)
The mother of a dead soldier cannot reconcile her conflicted feelings about the Iraqi War. El Guindi, the 2011 winner of the prestigious Middle East America Award, paints a tender and complicated portrait of the ultimate pain of losing a child.
> Kamal's Letter
by Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah, directed by Evren Odcikin
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tony Kushner was blocked from receiving an honorary degree from CUNY for his criticism of Israel. Palestinian-American physicist Kamal and his philosopher daughter Alia take their outrage to the stage, but, first, can they really prove that they are human?
by Silva Semerciyan, directed by Desdemona Chiang (world premiere)
At a hi-fi shop and a disco in London and a war field in Iraq, the inherent racism and sexism of the bravura male culture is brilliantly skewered in this funny and hard-hitting play by the William Saroyan Prize winner Silva Semerciyan.
> In the Days That Follow
by Jen Silverman, directed by Christine Young (world premiere)
In this poignant play by up-and-coming writer Jen Silverman, former Israeli soldier Orh follows Lebanese poet Iman to the United States mesmerized by the haunting beauty of her poetry. Can their mutual love of words heal the personal and political wounds they carry?
by Farzam Farrokhi, directed by Sara Razavi (world premiere)
Three strangers on cell phones walk into a café. It might sound like a joke, but this could be the end of the world.
Introducing local playwright Farzam Farrokhi.
SERIES 2 November 8-18 at Joe Goode Studios
> City of Grubs
by Naomi Wallace, directed by Desdemona Chiang (U.S. premiere)
An Arab Jewish immigrant finds a dead man in the seedy hotel he cleans in Camden, NJ, and tells the body of this stranger his deepest secrets. The MacArthur "Genius" Award winner Naomi Wallace returns to the ReOrient Festival for the fourth time with this brilliant monologue.
by Elizabeth Benedict, directed by Evren Odcikin (world premiere)
Young British man Orhan, half Turkish and half black, finds himself incarcerated as a terrorist for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Local writer Elizabeth Benedict explores the deep-rooted complications of being mixed race in a culture that defines everything as us against them.
by Amir al-Azraki, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian (world premiere)
What does it take to get out of Iraq with a Iraqi passport? Iraqi playwright Amir al-Azraqi takes us on the absurd journey of visas, rejections, and searches that most Middle Easterners experience at airports with this tour-de-force play with movement.
> The Voice Room
by Reza Soroor, translated and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian (world premiere)
An Iranian tailor finds himself entangled in a web of political intrigue when he agrees to keep an eye on Qobad, a revolutionary figure. As this taut spy thriller unravels, will he be able to hold onto his skin against all odds?