Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East

ReOrient 2005

by George Crowe, Yussef El Guindi, Shahe Mankerian, Enrique Urueta, Naomi Wallace

ReOrient 2005

Golden Thread Productions hallmark event, ReOrient: the annual festival of short plays about the Middle East, is back for another thought-provoking and transformative season. For four weeks each year, this one-of-a-kind festival turns San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and attention-grabbing theatre from around the world.

November 13, 2005 - December 5, 2005

The Magic Theatre

Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco

Written by George Crowe, Yussef El Guindi, Shahe Mankerian, Enrique Urueta, Naomi Wallace

Directed by Hal Gelb, Mary Guzman, Laura Hope, Amy Mueller, Isis Saratial, Bill Selig, Torange Yeghiazarian

Featuring Josh Ergas, Joshua Lenn, Lawrence radecker*, Tiffani Sieraa, Ahou Tabibzadeh, Mark Truitt*, Bella warda, Valerie Weak, Carolyn Zola

Design Team: Evren odcikin (scenic), David Robertson (lighting), Ian Walker (sound), Paula Gruber (costumes)

At a time when the Middle East is at the forefront of the news on a daily basis, the ReOrient festival provides a rare opportunity for artists and audiences alike to engage deeply and directly with the Middle East in a creative and supportive setting that displaces misinformation and encourages understanding.  It is a process that has been summed up by the San Francisco Chronicle as being “haunting and provocative” with “reverberations far beyond its immediate cultural context.”

Special Events

The Life and Work of Lenin El Ramly

Free seminar with one of Egypt’s most prolific playwrights

The festival’s second week will feature a seminar at UC Berkeley to introduce the works of the outstanding and prolific Egyptian writer, Lenin El Ramly, as well as a staged reading of his play, Nightmare, directed by Amy Mueller.

This event is presented in partnership with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Egyptian Consulate of San Francisco.

November 15th - 5:30pm/Free at The Sultan Room, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 340 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

Theatre and Censorship in Contemporary Iran

“Berkeley Lecture Series” in partnership with Golden Thread Productions presents

In Feb. 1999, Mahmood Karimi-Hakak staged Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Tehran, Iran. This production was raided and closed down on its fifth night of sold-out performances, and Karimi-Hakak was charged with “outrage against the public decorum.” Although the official trial was inconclusive, he received anonymous death threats against his wife and twin two-year-old daughters. The family left Iran in June 1999. Mahmood Karimi-Hakak currently serves as Associate Professor of Creative Arts and Producer of Theatre at Siena College where he recently received the Raymond Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award.

ReOrient 2005 In the Press

The san Francisco Bay Guardian

Golden Thread Productions triumphs with the ReOrient Festival

→ Read the full review by Robert Avila


A State of Innocence

by Naomi Wallace, recent MacArthur Genius Fellow (North America premiere); Directed by Isis Saratial Misdary

A Palestinian woman and an Israeli soldier arrive at a new level of understanding when she visits him at the ruined zoo in Rafah (Gaza Strip).

Naomi Wallace (playwright) ’s work has been produced in both the United Kingdom and the United States.  Her plays include One Flea Spare, In the Heart of America, Slaughter City, The Inland Sea and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek.  Her work has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, and an Obie. She is also a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.  Her award-winning film Lawn Dogs is available on DVD.  She is presently working on a commission for the Royal National Theatre of London.

World Premiere

Parable for a Dark Time

by San Francisco playwright George Crowe, Directed by William Selig

An abstract poem set to performance where the central character retells his experience of being abducted.

George Crowe (playwright) is delighted to be working with Golden Thread. He is a member of the Z Artists Lab at Z Space Studio where “Parable” originated and where he is developing his play “Tailings” set in 1893 San Francisco. Other plays of his have received readings in Berkeley, Santa Rosa, Chicago and New York. His one-page plays have been produced locally by Abydos, the Directors Theater, which commissioned his joint translation/ adaptation of Pierre Marivaux’s 1724 play “The False Servant”, currently being presented in San Francisco. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

World Premiere


by Egyptian-born playwright Yussef El Guindi, Directed by Hal Gelb

A peace activist’s meeting with a sniper at a cocktail party ignites a series of questions about the movement’s strategies against war.

Yussef El Guindi is a playwright living in Seattle. He was playwright-in-residence at Duke University for several years. His most recent productions include Finishing SchoolSo Unlike Me, Trading In My Arab (in Seattle), Karima’s City (in San Francisco; and as part of 2004’s Cairo International Experimental Theater Festival), Murder in the Mirror (a radio play presented by Stage Shadows at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York) and Men On Mars (another radio play aired in 2004 by Shoestring Radio Theater). His play Ten Acrobats in An Amazing Leap of Faith is scheduled for productions this year in Chicago and Seattle. Back of The Throat is also being presented in Seattle by Theater Schmeater.

World Premiere


by Shahe Mankerian, an Armenian-American author; Directed by Laura Hope

In this comedy, four Armenian young men congregate at the men’s room of a hotel to lament their friend’s decision to marry a non-Armenian. They chastise his lack of commitment to the preservation of Armenian heritage while fantasizing about spending the night with the bridesmaids.

In 1979, at the age of twelve, Shahe Mankerian found himself digesting a new language in the Pasadena Unified School District. Away from the Civil War of Lebanon, Shahe began experimenting with written dialogue, both in poetic and dramatic form. Soon after graduating high school, he wrote and staged three plays dealing with a generation of Armenians lost in America. Teenage Wasteland, Youthquaker, and The Devil’s Children, comprised a trilogy of dramatic angst against the melting pot of America. During this period of productivity, Mankerian also published a collection of verse entitled Children of Honey.

World Premiere

Learn to be Latina

by San Francisco playwright Enrique E. Urueta; Directed by Mary Guzman

A hilarious comedy where a Lebanese young singer is told by a music industry executive that in order to make it in the music industry, she must pretend to be half Latina!

Colombian-American, by way of Virginia, Enrique E. Urueta grew up with a southern drawl and was educated at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where he studied theatre and geology. A Bay Area resident since 2002, Enrique has been a literary intern at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2002-3), a literary associate at The Playwrights Foundation (2003-4), the literary manager for Impact Theater (2003-4), and is the current literary manager for foolsFURY Theater Company in San Francisco (2004-present). He has studied playwriting with Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw, Prince Gomolvilas, Erik Ehn, Christine Evans and Liz Duffy Adams. His play The Johnson Administration was produced by Impact Theatre in Berkeley in August 2003. His play The Danger of Bleeding Brown was presented as a staged reading on June 3, 2005 as part of the National Queer Arts Festival. His one-act play Learn To Be Latina received a staged reading in the 2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and freelances as a production dramaturg for Bay Area theatre companies (currently Chay Yew’s Porcelain with Crowded Fire). He also works as a developmental dramaturg with Bay Area playwrights in the development of new plays. The playwrights he has advised have gone on to win local and statewide awards, as well as several finalists for the Heideman award, administered by Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is a proud member of NoPassport, a pan-American theatre coalition devoted the advocacy of Latino/a and hemispherically-minded work.

World Premiere

Call me Mehdi

by San Francisco playwright Torange Yeghiazarian; Directed by Meg Patterson

An Iranian woman and American man reach for a new level of intimacy by irreverently exploring their mutually-held cultural stereotypes.

Torange Yeghiazarian is the Founder and Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, dedicated to theater that explores Middle Eastern culture and identity represented throughout the globe.  Torange is an Iranian-born theatre artist of Armenian heritage, and she writes, directs and performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She made her directorial debut with WAVES,which premiered at the San Francisco Fringe Festival to sold-out audiences and received rave reviews from Bay Area critics.  She has adapted and directed Aristophanes’ Lysistrata in her production OPERATION NO PENETRATION, Lysistrata 97!  Her other directing credits include Albert Camus’ Caligula and Sadegh Hedayat’s Behind the Glass Window.  She has performed in Persian in Farhad Ayeesh’s Last Supper Comedy at the Darvag Theater in Berkeley and Dario Fo’s one-woman show A Woman Alone at the Live Oak Theater. Torange received her Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University where she collaborated with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in creating the melodrama TORCH.

Cast & Crew

Naomi Wallace

→ Bio

Lenin El Ramly

→ Bio

Yussef El Guindi


→ Bio

Shahe Mankerian

→ Bio

George Crowe

→ Bio

Enrique E. Urueta

→ Bio

Torange Yeghiazarian

→ Bio

• • •

We are grateful for the support of the following institutions:

The James Irvine Foundation

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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