Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East

ReOrient 2004

Seven Short Plays Presented in Two Alternating Series

ReOrient 2004

Golden Thread Productions will present its annual festival of plays about or written by playwrights from the Middle East at Noh Space in San Francisco followed by two weeks at Ashby Stage in Berkeley.

September 17, 2004 - October 11, 2004

Performed at the Noh Space and The Ashby Stage

Noh Space (2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco); The Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley)

Directed by Hal Gelb, Arlene Hood, Amy Mueller, Laura Hope Owen, Meredith Weiss Friedman, Torange Yeghiazarian

Featuring Patrick Alparone, Suha Araj, Sheri Bass, Ben Beecroft, Toby Brooks, Katy Brown, Ann Marie Donahue, Maxmillienne Ewalt, David Fierro, Nabil Ghachem, Vida Ghahremani, Tiffany Harrison, Patrick A. Keene, Zak Kilberg, Sara Luna, Patrick MacKellan, Keahn Malak-Madani, Doyle Ott, Lisa Tateosian and Cyrus Tinati

Design Team: Mikiko Uesugi (scenic), Stephen Siegel (lighting), Marc Hagan (sound), Keri Fitch (costumes), Miriam Behpour (graphic), Alan Jose (video)

This year’s line up includes Between the Eyes, a play by the MacArthur Genius Award recipient, Naomi Wallace, Compression of a Casualty by Kevin Doyle, about an Iraq War veteral; as well as a special performance OPENING WEEK ONLY by Bay Area’s own Betty Shamieh, performing excerpts from her critically acclaimed play, Chocolate in Heat, Growing Up Arab in America.

Special Events

Tazieh, a Traditional Iranian Passion Play

Saturday, September 18 at 4 pm, Noh Space

Historical context & contemporary experiments
Presenters: Rebecca Ansary Pettys, theater scholar and artist, Haleh Hatami, poet

Playwrights’ Roundtable

Join the artists in an informal discussion on writing and the Middle East

Sunday, October 3 at 4 pm, Noh Space

Staged Reading Series

The Beauty Inside

by Catherine Filloux, directed by Jessica Heidt

A touching story of an unexpected friendship between two very different women. Based on the true case of an honor killing that is averted in Turkey.

Guest of a Few Days

by Mohsen Yalfani, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian. Featuring Pariv Sayyad & Dariush Irannejad.

A love triangle exposes the political conflict between two friends whose paths diverted in pre-revolutionary Iran.

Shooting Magda

by Joshua Sobol, directed by Amy Mueller

The line between fact and fiction blurs during this overnight film shooting by Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Bounty of Lace

by Susan Merson, directed by Rebecca Novick

This play follows a delicious afternoon tea party among four Israeli women which disintegrates into an exploration of the romantic boundaries of the politically fraught region


Chocolate in Heat, Growing Up Arab in America

by Betty Shamieh

Excerpts from critically acclaimed monologues about love, sex and privilege told through the eyes of Arab-American characters. Special performance by the author OPENING WEEK.

Betty Shamieh is the author of fifteen plays. Productions include The Strangest (The Semitic Root), Fit For the Queen (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Machine (Naked Angels) The Black Eyed (NYTW and Magic Theatre), Territories (Magic Theatre), and Roar (The New Group). Her works have been translated into seven languages, and her international productions include Again and Against (Playhouse Theater, Stockholm), The Black Eyed (Fournos Theatre, Athens), and Territories (Landes Theatre, Austria). 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama and Performance Art; Clifton Visiting Artist at Harvard College; Playwriting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies; 2011 UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue in 2011. B.A., Harvard College; M.F.A., Yale School of Drama. bettyshamieh.com


by Melis Bilgin, directed by Hal Gelb

Set in a post apocalyptic world, two boys’ search for food produces an unimaginable outcome.

Between the Eyes

by Naomi Wallace, directed by Amy Mueller

An Israeli man remembers his father’s mistreatment of their Palestinian house-keeper. A deeply moving monologue by this recipient of the McArthur Fellowship, the Genius Award.

Naomi Wallace’s plays include One Flea Spare, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Things of Dry Hours, The Fever Chart: Three Vision of the Middle East, And I and Silence, and Returning to Haifa (adapted with Ismail Khalidi). In 2009, One Flea Spare was incorporated in the permanent repertoire of the French National Theater, the Comédie- Francaise. Awards: An Obie Award, Kesselring Prize, the Horton Foote Award. She is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, the inaugural Windham Campbell prize for drama, and an Arts and Letters Award in Literature.


by William Borden, directed by Arlene Hood

An imaginary conversation between two people jumping off one of the Towers on 9/11.

William Borden’s scripts have won 37 national playwriting competitions and have had over 200 productions. The film version of his play, The Last Prostitute, was shown on Lifetime Television and in Europe and is available on video. His novel, Superstoe, was recently republished by Orloff Press. A Core Alumnus Playwright at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, he is Playwright-in -Residence with Listening Winds Theatre. He is a member of PEN, The Dramatists Guild, ASCAP and the Authors Guild.


by Novid Parsi, directed by Arlene Hood

A Taziyeh troupe enlists an Iranian-American to play Shemr, the man who murders Hussain. It is a part no one wants to play, and no one will?
[“Taziyeh” is a Shiite passion play about the martyrdom of Hussain in Karbala.]

Novid Parsi, a son of immigrant Iranians, grew up in East Texas and studied literature at Swarthmore and Duke. His plays have been produced and given staged readings by Immigrants’ Theatre Project, New York; The New Group, New York; Stephen Joseph, Scarborough, England; Paines Plough, London; and the Young Vic, London, among others. Novid has also published short fiction and criticism. He lives in Chicago.

Don’t Eat the Tomatoes

by Fatma Durmush, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian

Misery turns humans into a tomato. A Turkish couple first reject and then explore the commercial possibilities of this phenomenon.

Fatma Durmush was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, in 1959. At the age of six, she migrated to England with her family and, despite a brief return to Cyprus in her teens, went to school in London and studied Humanities at the Open University for two years. Her work has been published in the Turkish language press and in the Big Issue and Daily Express. Fatma’s collection of plays and short stories, I Sit in the Light, was published in 2000. She won first prize for poetry in the FATAL Short Story and Poetry Competition for Turkish Speaking Women in 1998. Her poems can be found in Modern Poetry in Translation, New Series No. 17 2001. Fatima writes in English.

Compression of a Casualty

by Kevin Doyle, directed by Laura Hope

CNN news reporters stuck in the narrative of an American soldier’s death in Iraq. They can neither tell the deeper tale, nor move on.

Compression of a Casualty was written with found material as its direct inspiration. The dialogue of the two news anchors is taken directly from official CNN transcripts of the morning of July 18, 2003. I witnessed the original broadcast live on television. The inspiration for Private Bertoldie’s dialogue is taken from accounts in local Missouri newspapers which appeared in the days and weeks after Bertoldie’s death. Nothing beyond the initial report depicted in this play was broadcast about Bertoldie by CNN that morning. This play is dedicated to the Bertoldie family.

Dinner/ Khnamakhos

by Lilly Thomassian, directed by Meredith Weiss Friedman

Two Armenian families gather to celebrate the union of their son and daughter. The only problem is, the daughter has become entirely invisible!

Lilly Thomassian was born in Iran and studied at the University of Geneva. She is an award-winning poet and playwright. In 1998, she was selected to participate in Wordsmiths, a workshop supported by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Department. That same year, her one-act play, How Do I Look, was a finalist in the Pathway Productions’ National Contest. The Interrogation, a play inspired by the Iranian revolution, was a finalist in the 2001 Ashland New Plays Festival and the 2003 Senachai Festival in Chicago. She is perhaps best known for her play, Let the Rocks Speak, which won the 2001 Catawba College Peterson Award. It was also awarded an Honorable Mention in the Plays for the 21st Century by the Playwrights Theater in Texas and was the finalist in the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Competition. In 2002, parts of the play were performed during the 1st Annual Genocide Commemorative Event at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. Let the Rocks Speak was produced by ShapeShifter Productions in March 2003 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood. Lilly has been a long time active member of First Stage in Hollywood, where she is currently part of the Artistic Committee. She is also member of Playwrights Ink, a prestigious playwriting group whose members’ plays have won many theatre awards. She belongs to the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.

Cast & Crew

William Borden

→ Bio

Fatma Durmush

→ Bio

Novid Parsi

→ Bio

Betty Shamieh

→ Bio

Lilly Thomassian

→ Bio

Naomi Wallace

→ Bio

• • •

We are grateful for the support of the following institutions:

The Puffin Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Zellerbach Family Foundation, CA$H Grant, a program of Theatre Bay Area, San Francisco Art Commission.

Golden Thread Productions

1695 18th Street, #C101
San Francisco, CA 94107
The ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone

Phone: 415.626.4061


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