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A Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East

ReOrient 2001

Love & Happiness was never so complicated...

ReOrient 2001

Presented in three series, this year’s ReOrient Festival opens less than a month after the horrific events of 9/11. In deciding to move forward, the company issued this statement: Since its inception, Golden Thread Productions has been dedicated to exploring the Middle Eastern culture and identity in all its complexity. Therefore, we feel as a company that now more than ever it is crucial to go forward with a cultural event that we hope will foster a deeper understanding of our shared humanity and shatter the commonly held stereotypes associated with the Middle East. We hope this open exchange will contribute to ending the vicious cycle of retaliation and intolerance.

September 27, 2001 - October 14, 2001

Yugen-Noh Space

2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco

Directed by Ana Bayat, Armen Dilanchian, Hal Gelb, Arlene Hood, Zara Houshmand, Torange Yeghiazarian

Featuring Kathleen Antonia, Deborah Davis-Price*, Said Ganji, Vida Gahremani, Ted Herzberg, Thomas Lynam, Mani, Yasmine Orangi, Ninos Oshaana, John Pennington, Bernadette Quattrone, Claudia Rosa*, Mansour Taeed, Frank Toth, Christopher J Vantress, Tariq Yanis

Design Team: Stephen Siegel (lighting), Jeff Gottlieb/Hal Gelb & Kathy Kennedy (sound), Preeti Ranadive (graphic)

Music by Ninos Oshaana, Abdul Malik Said, Sabrina Spinaldi, and Kathy Kennedy (voice)

Featuring new plays by Iranian playwright Ghazi Rabihavi, Egyptian playwright Yussef El Guindi, and Golden Thread’s founder, Torange Yeghiazarian. Harold Pinter who produced Rabihavi’s debut in London’s Almeida Theatre described Stoning as “A very strong and powerful piece of work, beautifully constructed.” Set during the Iran-Iraq war, Stoning presents the story of a woman accused of adultery. Through a series of 20 vignettes, Rabihavi masterfully reveals the inner workings of human emotions caught in an authoritarian regime where even one’s own flesh and blood cannot be trusted. Presented in the same evening, two plays by El Guindi exemplify the rich palette of contemporary Middle Eastern playwrights bridging the ethnically specific with the universal: Chekhov’s masterful comedy, A Marriage Proposal set in an Arab-American immigrant family, and three strangers riding the bus on New Year’s eve in Three Stops. ReOrient 2001 is pleased to introduce Myles Weber with Expatriates, A quirky snapshot of the life of expatriates in an unnamed desert city where one’s sexual orientation is a more closely guarded secret than the air raid schedule. Weber’s own experience as a Foreign Service officer in Riyadh lend Expatriates greater depth and realism.

REORIENT 2001 LINE-UP

Stoning

by Ghazi Rabihavi, directed by Hal Gelb.

A nurse providing shelter to a patient during the Iran-Iraq war. Was it adultery?

Ghazi Rabihavi (Playwright)- Since migrating to the U.K. from Iran where most of his writing is banned from publication, Ghazi has had a number of novels, short stories and plays published and produced in Europe. In 1997, Harold Pinter introduced Ghazi to the British public by producing his play Look Europe! at Almeida Theatre in London. Pinter called Look Europe! “A work of a gifted writer” and later described Stoning as “A very strong and powerful piece of work, beautifully constructed.” In addition to productions in London and Amsterdam Look Europe! has also been staged in New York at the Actors’ Studio. This is the world premier of Stoning. Ghazi is currently working on his new play, Captured by Camera, which will be performed in October in London and Amsterdam. It is based on a true story of Ahmad Batebi, an Iranian film student who is serving 15 years in prison for being photographed by a journalist during the recent student demonstrations in Tehran. Captured by Camera and Look Europe! are both written in support of the prisoners of conscious in Iran.

Ukimwi

by Tom Coash, directed by Arlene Denise Hood

The encounter of an American expatriate and a Nigerian working girl at a bar in Cairo.

Tom Coash (Playwright) is a literary consultant at Manhattan Theatre Club. Tom previously spent four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. He had several plays produced in Cairo including Censory Perceptions, which was also produced at an international festival in Beirut, and his commissioned play Khamaseen, which was produced both in Cairo and as part of the Edinburgh Theatre Fringe Festival. In 1994/95 Coash was a Jerome Fellow Playwright-in-Residence at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, MN. Coash has worked professionally for several theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville and Theatre of the First Amendment.

A Marriage Proposal

adapted by Yussef El Guindi, directed by Ana Bayat.

Chekhov’s classic comedy naturally lends itself to an Arab-American setting. The hapless suitor gets much more than he bargained for in the woman he perceives to be the perfect Arab wife.

Yussef El-Guindi (Playwright: A Marriage Proposal & 3 Stops) - Primarily a playwright, Yussef  has been active as a poet, actor and filmmaker: His adaptation of Chekhov’s A Marriage Proposal staged by the Arab Theatrical Arts Guild in Dearborn, MI was nominated for several PAGE awards including Outstanding Achievement in Original Play or Adaptation. His last poem, Crossing Borders, was published on placards and placed on buses as part of Seattle’s Poetry and Art on Buses. Yussef’s short film Love Stalks won an award for best short narrative film at Seattle Underground Film Festival and was aired on KTEH. A native of Egypt, Yussef holds an M.F.A in Playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University and was playwright in-residence at Duke University.

Three Stops

by Yussef El Guindi, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian.

Three strangers riding the bus on New Year’s eve … recovering from an end, or searching for a new beginning.

Presented in the same evening, the two plays by El Guindi exemplify the rich palette of contemporary Middle Eastern playwrights bridging the ethnically specific with the universal.

ABAGA

by Torange Yeghiazarian, directed by Zara Houshmand

Two generations of forbidden love, from Istanbul of 1920’s to Jerusalem of 1940’s, what will the future bring?

Torange Yeghiazarian (Playwright: ABAGA, Director: 3 STOPS) writes, acts and directs for the theatre and is the founder and artistic director of Golden Thread Productions. Among Torange’s writing/ directing credits are The Myth of Creation by Iranian writer Sadegh Hedayat, Publicly RestingBehind Glass WindowsOperation No Penetration, Lysistrata 97! and Waves. She has performed in a number of plays and independent films. Born in Iran, Torange received her Masters degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University where she had the opportunity to collaborate with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in creating the melodrama TORCH!

Expatriates

by Myles Weber, directed by Armen Dilanchian

Office politics, secret affairs, and the search for the forbidden bacon-cheese burger!

Myles Weber (Playwright) is a Graduate Fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing a Ph.D. in American literature. He served seven years as a Foreign Service officer in the U.S. State Department, with postings in Stockholm, Riyadh, and Washington, D.C. Kaliyuga Arts premier production of his play Pride in June, 1999 at EXIT Theatre received the Dean Goodman Choice Awards, including one for Original Writing. Pride was named one of the best new plays of the year by the Bay Area Reporter.

World Premiere

Stoning

by Ghazi Rabihavi, directed by Hal Gelb

Harold Pinter who produced Rabihavi’s debut in London’s Almieda Theatre described Stoning as “A very strong and powerful piece of work, beautifully constructed.” Set during the Iran-Iraq war, Stoning presents the story of a woman accused of adultery. Through a series of 20 vignettes, Rabihavi masterfully reveals the inner workings of human emotions caught in an authoritarian regime where even one’s own flesh and blood cannot be trusted. Directed by Hal Gelb whose direction last June of Karim Alrawi’s Deep Cut was described as ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Flawless.’

Ghazi Rabihavi (Playwright)Since migrating to the U.K. from Iran where most of his writing is banned from publication, Ghazi has had a number of novels, short stories and plays published and produced in Europe. In 1997, Harold Pinter introduced Ghazi to the British public by producing his play Look Europe! at Almeida Theatre in London. Pinter called Look Europe! “A work of a gifted writer” and later described Stoning as “A very strong and powerful piece of work, beautifully constructed.” In addition to productions in London and Amsterdam Look Europe! has also been staged in New York at the Actors’ Studio. This is the world premier of Stoning. Ghazi is currently working on his new play, Captured by Camera, which will be performed in October in London and Amsterdam. It is based on a true story of Ahmad Batebi, an Iranian film student who is serving 15 years in prison for being photographed by a journalist during the recent student demonstrations in Tehran. Captured by Camera and Look Europe! are both written in support of the prisoners of conscious in Iran.

Ukimwi

by Tom Coash, directed by Arlene Denise Hood

Coash who lived in Cairo for four years beautifully paints an intimate picture of the international crossroads that is Cairo where a Nigerian prostitute and an American expatriate exchange skeletons from their respective closets.

Tom Coash (Playwright) is a literary consultant at Manhattan Theatre Club. Tom previously spent four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. He had several plays produced in Cairo including Censory Perceptions, which was also produced at an international festival in Beirut, and his commissioned play Khamaseen, which was produced both in Cairo and as part of the Edinburgh Theatre Fringe Festival. In 1994/95 Coash was a Jerome Fellow Playwright-in-Residence at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, MN. Coash has worked professionally for several theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville and Theatre of the First Amendment.

Cast & Crew

Hal Gelb

Director

→ Bio

• • •

We are grateful for the support of the following institutions:

Intersection for the Arts, Many Rivers Theater Project, Theatre Bay Area, and the office of Mayor Willie Brown for their support to move forward with the festival.

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