Golden Thread Productions' Festival of One-Acts will present six short works by authors from, or on themes concerning, the Middle East. Most of the productions will be premieres of original plays developed by the company, however, Bay Area theatre lovers will recognize Emily Shihadeh’s Grapes and Figs are in Season which has previously toured the Bay Area to remarkable reviews.
This unusual festival, perhaps the first of its kind in the US, will run in repertory for four weeks in August at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco. Golden Thread Productions, which defines its connection to the Middle East expansively and inclusively, is made up of artists from all parts of the globe.
August 4, 1999 - August 28, 1999
156 Eddy Street, San Francisco
Directed by Laura Chakravarty Box, Carl Eye, Manijeh Mohamedi, Victoria Rue, Torange Yeghiazarian
Featuring Laura Chakravarty Box, Adam Chipkin, Melissa Culross, Ali Dadgar, Greg Denzler, Amahl Khouri, Cec Levinson, Lindsay Martell, Eric Rice, Emily Shihadeh, Howard Squires
Design Team: Bert van Aalsberg (scenic), Alex Lopez (lighting), Silvia Matheus (sound), Pretti Ranadive (graphic)
Dramaturgy by Laura Chakravarty Box
Soundscape for "The Gangrene" designed by Joseph Cronin
In organizing Six Plays- en Short we wanted to explore the political, the sensual, and the absurd. We reached out to local writers and performers, and were delighted to find so many wanting to join us on this adventure. Out of the six works presented in the two series, five are premiers. This is at once challenging and rewarding. At Golden Thread, we have come to understand our role as facilitators. This festival is our first attempt at bringing together a collection of contemporary works that explore what it means to be “from the Middle East.” The baggage we carry is ever present in our work, no matter how subtly.
Rimm, la gazelle was first performed in December 1992 at the Théâtre de la Tête Noire in Saran, France by Compagnie Trait pour Trait D’Orléans. It was reprised at the Festival Avignon-off in July, 1993, with Franςoise Tixier in the title role. Copyright (c) 1993 by Éditións des Quatre-Vents. Used by courtesy of the author.
Rimm, the Gazelle is part of an unofficial quasi-autobiographical trilogy by Fatima Gallaire that includes another one-woman one-act, A Burn on the Heart, and also Gallaire’s most famous full-length tragedy, Princesses. In sum, the three plays pay tribute to her family and explore the process of dislocation through time and space that accompanies migration. Rimm is going home to Algeria after living for years in France, but can home ever be the place one expects it to be?
There is more repetition in our lives than we would like to admit. We crave it, count on it, hope for it. When it comes to matters of the heart, we all hope to meet the “right person” in one of our repetitious cycles. And when we do… then what?
Caveh Zahedi is an independent filmmaker of Iranian descent. His most recent feature, I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Anymore, won the critics prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival. With Greg Watkins, he also co-wrote, co-directed, and acted in A Little Stiff.
A public men’s room of an airport becomes the unexpected setting for a suicide and a secret triste. This world premiere dark comedy is all about not getting what you want and the lengths to which we go to change our circumstances.
The text for The Gangrene was drawn verbatim from the following sources, and is used with the kind permission of the publishers listed: The Gangrene, edited by Lyle Stuart and translated by Robert Silvers, Copyright (c) 1960. Courtesy of Les Éditions de Minuit. “‘Hassiba Ben Bouali, If You Could See Our Algeria’: Women in Public Space in Algeria,” written by Susan Slyomovics, in Arab Women: Between Defiance and Restraint, edited by Suha Sabbagh. Copyright (c) 1996. Courtesy of the author. “Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak”, edited by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Basima Qattan Bezirgan, Copyright ©1977. Courtesy of the University of Texas Press. “S.O.S. Algeria: Women’s Human Rights Under Seige,” written by Karima Bennoune, in Faith and Freedom: Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World, edited by Mahnaz Afkhami, Copyright (c) 1995. Courtesy of I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. WRETCHED OF THE EARTH by Frantz Fanon. Used through arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc. Copyright (c) 1963by Presence Africaine and copyright (c) 1961 by Francois Maspero editeur S.A.R.L. All rights reserved.
Revolution has many faces. For those of us who are cast into a “borderland” identity as a result, its face take on a very personal rather than just political shape. This piece hopes to share that while revolution can at first be damaging, it also has the potential to empower us and strengthen our sense of self.
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.
California Arts Council, Zellerbach Family Foundation, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.
Golden Thread Productions is a fiscally sponsored project of the Intersection for the Arts.