by Naghmeh Samini, translated by Torange Yeghiazarian
We’re thrilled to share The Language of Wild Berries as our debut radio play, available now! Released as a podcast, the radio play is available to access and to share for free on multiple platforms such as Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Spotify.
The past, present, and future collide in the touching story of a couple’s annual road trips to the Caspian Sea and the mysterious stranger following them. Naghmeh Samini’s play is a rare glimpse into the lives of contemporary Iranians, as well as her first English language production in the United States.
Donya and Davood celebrate their wedding anniversary by traveling to the same sea side town where they spent their honeymoon. But on this trip, their 10th anniversary, a mysterious young man is following them. Who is he? What does he want? Trying to solve the mystery of the young man throws Donya and Davood into a time warp recalling their past nine anniversary trips. They remember what they have forgotten. But will that be enough to save their marriage?
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Naghmeh Samini is an award-winning playwright, scriptwriter and Assistant Professor in Dramatic Literature at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, University of Tehran. Her plays including Sleeping in an Empty Cup, Sky Horses Rain Ashes, Making Faces, and The Home (Best Playwright, 2008) have been staged in Iran, France, India, Canada, and the United States, among others. She is the recipient of several awards for her screenplays, notably by Yass Festival in 2016 for the popular television series, Shahrzad. UNESCO selected Samini’s play The King and the Mathematician: A Legend (2012), inspired by a story in the One Thousand and One Nights, as one of the cultural achievements of the year. Samini’s research into Iranian mythology has yielded several publications, notably The Theatre of Myths selected as Best Book of the Year in Iran in 2010, and Battles and Bodies (Tehran: Ney, forthcoming 2019) an examination of the semiotics of human body in post-war Japanese cinema. Naghmeh was born in Iran and holds a BA in Drama and a Masters of Arts in Cinema from the University of Tehran. Her PhD thesis at the University of Tarbiat Modarres in Tehran focused on Drama and Mythology.
Director / Translator
Torange Yeghiazarian is the Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company focused on the Middle East where she launched such visionary programs as ReOrient Festival, New Threads, Fairytale Players, and What do the Women Say?, and timely initiatives such as Islam 101 and Project Alo? Torange has been recognized by Theatre Bay Area and is one of Theatre Communication Group’s Legacy Leaders of Color. She was honored by the Cairo International Theatre Festival and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry at Stanford University. A playwright, director, and translator, Torange contributed a case study chapter to “Casting a Movement”, forthcoming from Routledge, 2019. Her translation and stage adaptation of Nizami’s “Leyla & Majnun” is published on Gleeditions.com. She has been published in The Drama Review, American Theatre Magazine, AmerAsia Journal, and contributed to Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. At Golden Thread, Torange directed OH MY SWEET LAND by Amir Nizar Zuabi, and the premieres of OUR ENEMIES: LIVELY SCENES OF LOVE AND COMBAT and SCENIC ROUTES by Yussef El Guindi, THE MYTH OF CREATION by Sadegh Hedayat, TAMAM by Betty Shamieh, STUCK by Amir Al-Azraki, VOICE ROOM by Reza Soroor, and adapted the poem, I SELL SOULS by Simin Behbehani for the stage. Torange was a member of the artistic team that developed BENEDICTUS, a collaboration among Iranian, Israeli, and American artists. She received a Gerbode-Hewlett Playwright Commission Award for ISFAHAN BLUES, a co-production with African American Shakespeare Company, and a commission from the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California to write THE FIFTH STRING: ZIRYAB’S PASSAGE TO CORDOBA. Other plays include 444 DAYS, WAVES, and CALL ME MEHDI, included in the anthology “Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG, 2009. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.
Denmo Ibrahim is an Egyptian-American actor and writer living in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Regional credits include Noura (Marin Theatre Company), The Good Book (Berkeley Repertory), *The Who & The What (*Marin Theatre Company), *A Thousand Splendid Suns (Seattle Rep, The Old Globe, American Conservatory of Theatre, Theatre Calgary), Much Ado About Nothing (California Shakespeare Theatre).Awards include National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle (SFBATCC) for Best Featured Actress inThe Good Book (*Berkeley Rep), *Our Enemies: Scenes of Love & Combat (*Golden Thread, SFBACC Nomination) and Theatre Bay Area Awards for I Call My Brothers (Crowded Fire) and BABA (Alter Theatre) for Best Original Script, Outstanding Solo Performance. Her work has been produced by New York Theatre Workshop, Under St. Marks, Playwrights’ Center, and Noor Theatre. Denmo holds an MFA in Lecoq-based Actor Created Physical Theater from Naropa University and a BFA in Acting from Boston University. @denmo-ibrahim
Abraham Makany is an Iranian-American actor based in NYC. New York theatre credits include The Lehman Trilogy on Broadway (Nederlander Theatre), Bars and Measures (Urban Stages), Trial of an American President (Theatre Row), Waterwell’s Hamlet (The Sheen Center), Kandahar to Canada (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Job (The Flea Theater) and the Obie Award winning production of The Brig (The Living Theatre). Regional works include The Corpse Washer in the 43rd Humana Festival (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the Bay Area Premiere of Noura (Marin Theatre Company). Film credits include Rainbow Ruthie (SXSW), Brooklyn Park (Palm Springs IFF), Saint Nicholas (Summer Hill Films), and El Gallo (Freestyle Media) and his work in television includes Orange is the New Black, Gotham, Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, Homeland, Blindspot, The Americans, Deception, Person of Interest, HAPPYish, The Ridge: Origins and Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. Born in Houston, TX, Abraham trained at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. @abmakany
Sal Mattos is an actor and writer from San Francisco. He most recently appeared in the world premiere of You’ll Catch Flies at New Conservatory Theatre Center, followed by a digital reading of The Death of Ruby Slippers with Theatre Rhinoceros, and numerous live and digital drag performances as his alter ego Fran Zaya throughout the year. Previous roles include It Can’t Happen Here (u/s, Berkeley Rep), Treefall, Standing on Ceremony, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, and From White Plains (NCTC), Slaughterhouse Five, Why Torture is Wrong… and the People Who Love Them, and In Love and Warcraft (Custom Made Theatre Co.), OPEN (Back Alley Theater), Hideo: A Theatrical Concert (Four Lights Productions), and many more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @salmattos.
Born in Iran, MOHAMMAD TALANI is a Berkeley-based musician, actor, and videographer. He is founding member of BandBand and joined the indie Iranian band, Kiosk in 2012. He has been living in U.S. since 2010 and collaborated with different artists such as Bahram Beyzaei, Mohsen Namjoo, Babak Jalali, Shahrzad Sepanlou and Circo cafe.
Ard is a local San Francisco designer, noisemaker, mechanic, and theatre vagrant, who composes soundscapes & music for humans, dogs, parrots, and bicycles. Ard’s sound design has been heard at the Public Theater in New York, the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, and most importantly: here at home in San Francisco, at the Potrero Stage, in collaborations with both Golden Thread Productions and Crowded Fire. Recent Golden Thread credits include adaptation for Shelter (alongside Torange Yeghiazarian), sound design for The Most Dangerous Highway in the World, and sound design for various plays presented at ReOrient Festivals 2015 and 2017. Ard is a co-founder of SoundPlay.media, and is currently producing short plays for podcast at BareWireTheatre.com.