Annual Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East
A new collection of works written by playwrights from, or on themes concerning, the Middle East.
July 14, 2000 - August 20, 2000
156 Eddy Street, San Francisco
Directed by Hal Gelb, Arlene Hood, Laura Hope, Torange Yeghiazarian
Featuring Stephanie Carwin, Rachel Christopherson, Vida Ghahremani, Michael Givler, Nora Ludden, J. Mc Mullen, Saul Montez, George Q Nguyen, Linda Noveroske, Heanine A Robinson, Paul Santiago*, Rassheedah 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.
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)
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.
Khalouf transports us into the surreal world of creativity and desire blending jazz, poetry and Arabian melodies.
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 Seasons, Merriam’s Smile, David 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.
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.
Laura Hope Owen
Laura Hope Owen
Laura Hope Owen is the Literary Manager at the Magic Theatre where she was also the Festival Director for three recent playwrights' festivals: Playwrights in Danger Festival, Festival of Lesbian Playwrights, and the Irish Women Playwrights Festival. Laura has performed with numerous companies throughout California, Colorado and New York. Recently she appeared in a one-woman show Girl Scout Rejects directed by Virginia Reed at the Women’s Work Jubilee at Venue 9. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a M.A. in Drama from San Francisco State University where she directed and dramaturged several projects, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Theatre at the University of California, Davis.
Bay Area director and actress, Arlene Hood teaches theatre arts at Moreau Catholic High School. Her students have received numerous awards including a four-star rating at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for Recent Disappearances. Among Arlene’s directing credits are: Antigone (Anouilh), Khamasseen (Tom Coash), Macbeth, Man of La Mancha, Our Country’s Good, The Real Inspector Hound, and 1776.
Founder and Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, Torange Yeghiazarian writes, acts and directs for the theatre. Among her credits are Publicly Resting staged at Six Plays en short festival of one acts, Behind Glass Windows, adapted from a short story by Iranian writer Sadeq Hedayat, Waves, staged at SF Fringe 94, and performing in DARVAG and Shotgun Players' coproduction of The Eight Voyage of Sindbad by Behram Beyzaii. Torange received her Masters degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University where she had the opportunity to collaborate with the SF Mime Troupe in creating the melodrama TORCH!