Annual Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East

ReOrient 2000

From fantastic to poignantly real, steeped in music and drama, this year’s festival is sure to ‘ReOrient’ your senses.

ReOrient 2000

A new collection of works written by playwrights from, or on themes concerning, the Middle East.

July 14, 2000 - August 20, 2000

EXIT Theater

156 Eddy Street, San Francisco

Directed by Hal Gelb, Arlene Hood, Laura Hope, Torange Yeghiazarian

Featuring Stephanie Carwin, Rachel Christopherson, Michael Givler, Nora Ludden, J. Mc Mullen, Saul Montez, George Q. Nguyen, Linda Noveroske, Jeanine A. Robinson, Paul Santiago*, Rasheedah Schelble

Design Team: Harry Robeck (lighting), Andrea Taylor (costumes), Joe Cronin (sound), Pardis Parsa (masks & puppets), Preeti Ranadive (graphic)

This year’s line up includes The Myth of Creation a cartoonish parody of the Adam and Eve tale by Sadegh Hedayat, one of Iran’s most respected writers and social critics;

Min El Alb, Lil Alb, a new play by Tom Coash, winner of the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award;

and The Muse by Drew Khalouf, ACT alumnus who transports us into the surreal world of creativity and desire blending jazz, poetry, and Arabian melodies.


The Myth of Creation

By Sadegh Hedayat, one of Iran’s most respected writers and social critics of the early 20th century. Translated by M. Ghanoonparvar. Directed by Torange Yeghiazarian

A cartoonish parody of the Adam & Eve tale or did somebody say Iranian Angles in America? Not!

Born to an aristocratic family in 1903 in Iran, Sadegh Hedayat was among those distinguished students sent to Europe by Reza Shah to earn an education with the expectation that they would facilitate the nation’s progress towards modernization. Soon after his return Hedayat co-instituted the Rab’a (The Foursome) a group consisting of young returnees whose progressive ideas antagonized both the literati and the government. In 1936 the Rab’a was outlawed and Hedayat left for India. Hedayat’s popularity outside Iran is due mostly to his short novel The Blind Owl (1937) which has been translated into numerous languages. Among his other published works are Buried Alive (1930), Three Drops of Blood (1932) and Haji Aqa (1945). In the majority of his works Hedayat is extremely critical of religion in general and the Moslem clergy in particular. He also looks down at the foreign powers involvement in Iran as well as the corruption that is rampant among the local government rank and file. The English text of Myth of Creation is translated by M.R. Ghanoonparvar and is based on the only version of the original Persian available (Paris 1946). This limited edition of 105 copies indicates that it was not for sale. Hedayat committed suicide in 1951, in Paris. (The Pearl Cannon [Iraj Bashiri] and The Myth of Creation [M.R. Ghanoonparvar] Mazda Publishers)

Min El Alb Lilalb (From my heart to yours)

By Tom Coash, named Outstanding Playwright at the 1999 Pittsburgh New Works Festival and winner of the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award. Directed by Arlene Denise Hood.

A delicious encounter between an American woman and an Egyptian man on top of - where else, the pyramids!

Playwright and Director, Tom Coash is currently living in Haverhill, MA where he founded the Neworks Theatre whose mission is to produce new multicultural and/or internationally themed plays. Coash spent the last four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo and had several plays produced there including his recent play Censory Perceptions also produced at an international festival in Beirut, and KHAMASSEEN produced at the Edinburgh Theatre Fringe Festival. In 1994/95 Coash was a Jerome Fellow playwright-in-residence at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Tom has worked professionally for several theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville and won several awards including the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award, the Robert H. Lehan Award in 1999. Tom was named the Outstanding Playwright of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

The Muse

Text and original music by Drew Khalouf Bay Area writer, performer and ACT alumnus. Directed by Laura Hope Owen.

Khalouf transports us into the surreal world of creativity and desire blending jazz, poetry and Arabian melodies.


by Ghazi Rabihavi, introduced to London audiences by Harold Pinter who described him as a “gifted writer. Directed by Hal Gelb.

An answering machine awaits. In this laconic study of loneliness, the color of exile is rendered red.

Since migrating to United Kingdom from his native Iran in 1994 where he was banned from publication Ghazi Rabihavi has written several plays as well as short stories and novels. Among his published works are The Iranian Four SeasonsMerriam’s SmileDavid and White Stone. Harold Pinter introduced Ghazi to the British public by producing his play Look Europe! In 1997 which he called “A work of a gifted writer.” A great source of inspiration and support, Pinter later wrote about the play *Stoning. “*A very strong and powerful piece of work, beautifully constructed.” Ghazi is currently directing and producing four of his short plays with the support of the Queensland Multi-Media Art Center in London slated to open in late June of this year.

Dear Mama, Love Emily

By Emily Shihadeh, who was born in Jerusalem and has lived in the Bay Area for the past forty-two years. Shihadeh has been presenting her one woman show “Grapes & Figs are in Season, A Palestinian Woman’s Story” for ten years now all over the San Francisco Bay Area, the United States and in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. www.emilyshi.com

This is the story of Emily Shihadeh, a Palestinian woman who at the age of seventeen immigrates to the United States of America to join her husband in San Francisco. ‘A friend, told me as I shared with him my life in America, “You came to a country populated by your mother.” How true that statement was! So many were so busy, they ignored me and were unable to express any feelings of warmth to me. That was just like my mother! I wanted to tell the people of this country about my people and their beauty and struggle. The devastation that happened in Palestine is known to very few. Through my personal stories I open a glimpse into life in Palestine.’ Through a series of short letters addressed to her mother, the audience will share some of the challenges Emily faced coming to a new country trying to understand the people and their rules.

Cast & Crew

Laura Hope Owen

→ Bio

Arlene Hood

→ Bio

Torange Yeghiazarian

→ Bio

• • •

We are grateful for the support of the following institutions:

California Arts Council, CA$H grant administered by Theatre Bay Area, Zellerbach Family Foundation

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