Artists Biographies

Sarah Al Kassab (Costume Design)
Simin Behbahani (Poet) 
Ali El-Gasseir (Gilad, Sami)
Yussef El Guindi (Playwright)
Arlene Hood (Director)
Danielle Levin* (Robin, Tanya)
Julian López-Morillas* (Mourid, Soul Ensemble)
Jon M. Marshall* (Stage Manager)
Amy Mueller (Director)
Evren Odcikin (Director) 
Darl Andrew Packard (Production Manager)
Garth Petal (Soul Ensemble, Ray) 
Jacob Petrie (Lighting Designer)
Sara Razavi (Hoda, Marguerite).
Mark Routhier (Director) 
Laura Shamas (Playwright)
Liz Seibert (Set Design)
Lynne Soffer* (Miriam, Soul Ensemble)
Naomi Wallace (Playwright)
Zachary Watkins (Sound Design)
Torange Yeghiazarian (Director)
Ignacio Zulueta (Playwright) 


Sarah Al Kassab (Costume Design) recently moved from San Diego where she garnered smash reviews for her costumes in theaters and fashion shows. She since moving to San Francisco she's done costumes for cabarets, circuses and fairy princesses, and is thrilled to be working with Golden Thread in the new year.

Simin Behbahani (Poet) has expanded the range of traditional Persian verse forms and produced some of the most significant works of Persian literature in the twentieth century. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997. Ms. Behbehani was also awarded a Human Rights Watch-Hellman/Hammet grant in 1998, and similarly, in 1999, the Carl von Ossietzky Medal for her struggle for freedom of expression in Iran . Born in 1927 in Tehran , Iran of literary parents, Ms. Behbehani published her first poem at the age of fourteen. She contributed to a historic development in the form of "Ghazal", as she added theatrical subjects, and daily events and conversations into this style of poetry.

Ali El-Gasseir (Gilad, Sami) is delighted to be acting for the ReOrient Festival and Golden Thread Productions.  Spending most of his time teaching and directing, Ali is also excited to be back on stage again. He is currently drama faculty and Director-in-Residence at the Bentley School .  Ali has acted in the Bay Area for companies such as Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Theatre Rhinoceros, Featherlead Productions and Rocco Risque Caberet.  Ali holds a BA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz and is currently an MA student at San Francisco State University .

Yussef El Guindi (Playwright)  most recent production was Back of The Throat, winner of the 2004 Northwest Playwright’s Competition. It recently won LA Weekly’s award for Best New Play. It was also nominated for the 2006 American Theater Critics Association’s Steinberg/New Play Award, and was voted Best New Play of 2005 by the Seattle Times.  It was first staged by San Francisco ’s Thick Description and Golden Thread Productions; then later presented in various theaters around the country. Another play of his, Ten Acrobats in An Amazing Leap of Faith,  staged by Silk Road Theatre Project,  recently won  the ‘After Dark Award’ for best new play in Chicago .  Back of the Throat, and two related one-acts, Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda’s and Karima’s City, have been published by Dramatists Play Service.

Arlene Hood (Director) teaches theatre arts at Moreau Catholic High School and served as chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department from 2001-2006. During her tenure as department chair, the Visual and Performing Arts Department twice received an award for outstanding excellence from the California Alliance for Arts Education. Her theatre students have received numerous awards and recognition for their exceptional achievements in theatre arts. Arlene received her theatre arts degree and secondary teaching credential from California State University , East Bay . Arlene has been directing projects for Golden Thread Productions since 2000 and also serves on their play selection committee. In 2004, her production of Karima’s City for Golden Thread was invited to perform in Egypt at the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre. In 2005, her students performed Mother Courage and Her Children at the annual Festival Fringe in Edinburgh , Scotland .  Arlene also serves on the Board of the California Educational Theatre Association as VP of Secondary Schools.

Danielle Levin* (Robin, Tanya) is very happy to be a part of this year's ReOrient. Recent credits include Emma - TheatreWorks (Mrs. Elton), Anna Bella Eema - Crowded Fire Theatre Company (Anna Bella); Urinetown - Contra Costa Musical Theater (Little Sally - Shellie Award Nomination); Laughter on the 23rd Floor - Center Repertory Company (Carol - Shellie Award Nomination); and Our Lady of 121st St. - SF Playhouse (Sonia). Danielle has also performed at Bay Area companies including Aurora Theater Company, Cinnabar Theater, Actors Theatre of Sonoma, Woman’s Will, and Word for Word. Next month Danielle can be seen in Said Saïd at Marin Theatre Company.

Julian López-Morillas* (Mourid, Soul Ensemble) has been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area since 1973. His acting and directing work includes productions at the American Conservatory Theatre, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Denver Center Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, San Diego Rep, the Eureka and Magic Theatres of San Francisco, Berkeley Jewish Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, the B Street Theatre in Sacramento , and many more. He is a recipient of several Bay Area Critics Circle and Drama-Logue Awards for both directing and acting. In 1994, Julian was a two-day winner on 'Jeopardy!'

Jon M. Marshall* (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working with Golden Thread Productions for the first time.  He has stage managed with theatre companies throughout the Bay Area, including TheatreWorks (The Burnt Part Boys), Woodminster Amphitheater (The King & I, Beauty and the Beast, Ragtime), and The Willows Theatre Company (1776, Cabaret, AIDA, Judgment at Nuremburg, Noises Off, Deathtrap).  Jon also stage managed Menopause-the Musical and Ruthless: the Musical. 

Amy Mueller (Director) is pleased to return to the ReOrient Festival this year. She has served as Artistic Director of the Playwrights Foundation for the past seven years, where she has developed plays with over 75 exceptional contemporary playwrights. She is also an artistic associate of Golden Thread Productions.  She has developed and/or directed over twenty world premieres. Her regional credits include San Diego Rep, Berkeley Rep, Arizona Theatre Company and A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle . She developed the award-winning play, Let My Enemy Live Long! by Tanya Shaffer. Upcoming projects include the development of a new musical with Ms. Shaffer and composer Vienna Teng. She thanks her partner and their two beautiful children for their enduring support and love.

Evren Odcikin (Director) is an associate artist with Golden Thread.  Directing credits: Blood Wedding (Shotgun Players), The Greek Play (elastic future), Death of Yazdgerd (Darvag), and numerous readings and workshops for Magic Theatre.  Set design credits: Beautiful (elastic future), ReOrient 2005 (Golden Thread), Static (mugwumpin), and Water Principle (Shotgun Players). Originally from Turkey , he is a company member with elastic future ( and an artistic associate with Magic Theatre.  Thanks and love to Lindsay.

Darl Andrew Packard (Production Manager) hails from Baltimore , MD where he graduated with a degree in Theater and Communications for Goucher College .  Most recently he has done lighting design for Impact Theater's Money and Run's Holiday Special.  He has also served as the Stage Manager for Citizen Josh, the Traveling Technical Director for Word For Word's Strangers We Know and the Booking Agent for Youth Arts School and Library Tour.

Garth Petal (Soul Ensemble, Ray)

Jacob Petrie (Lighting Designer) holds a degree in Technical Theatre and Design from SFSU. His designs have been seen at the Magic Theatre, The Foundry, Janice Garrett & Dancers, and El Teatro de la Esperanza, as well as at dance festivals in collaboration with choreographers Alex Ketley, Christian Burns and Cathleen McCarthy. Upcoming productions include designs for New Conservatory Theatre, Janice Garrett & Dancers, Ellis Wood Dance and The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Assisting credits include productions at San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, DC) and Marin Theatre Company.

Sara Razavi (Hoda, Marguerite). This is Sara's first production with Golden Thread Productions.  She has been involved with several Bay Area theatre companies including, TheatreFIRST’s Arab/Israeli Cookbook), No Nude Men’s Book of Genesis; Sacagawea, and Darvag’s Death of Yazdgerd but she tries to reserve most of her energy for elastic future where she is a company member (Beautiful 2007, The Greek Play, 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS, Beautiful 2005, James at the Altar, Heavy Days).   

Mark Routhier (Director) Bay Area directing credits include The Bone Man of Benares, 70 Scenes of Halloween (Encore Theatre), Cartoon (Impact Theatre), someguy, Drunken Grownups, Iphigenia and Other Daughters (Mettle Theatre), Cowboy Mouth (MGTC), and Exit the King (Am. Citz. Theatre).  Workshops: Carly Mensch’s All Hail Hurricane Gordo (University Playwright’s Workshop, Marin Theatre Co.), Eisa Davis’s Bulrusher (SF Stage & Film), Marisa Wegrzyn’s Hickorydickory and Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Magic Theatre).  He also directed readings of Rick Mitchell’s Brecht in L.A. and Michael Hollinger’s Opus in the Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays at Orlando Shakes.  Dramaturgy: Lucy Thurber's Monstrosity (Encore), Mike Geither’s Stars Fell All Night (BAPF), Tim Lord’s The Secret History of Caleb Caan (University Playwrights Workshop, Stanford).  His short plays, Spotter, premiered in Best of Playground, and Leaving premiered in S.o.S.II at AlterTheatre. Mark is Director of Artistic Development at Magic Theatre, and serves on the Executive Committee of the National New Play Network (NNPN).  He received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU.

Laura Shamas (Playwright) is a Lebanese American writer whose plays have been read/developed at many theaters, including Native Earth Performing Arts (October ‘07, Toronto, Canada); “Playwrights Week 2007" at the Lark Theater, New York; Soho Theatre (London, England – ’06 & ‘07); Williamstown Theatre Festival (Guest Artist 2006); Golden Thread Productions (2006) ; The Old Globe (San Diego); The Geva Theater; and The Utah Shakespearean Festival. In November 2007, she was Guest Artist in Residence at the University of Texas A & M/Corpus Christi for a production of her new play Moliere in Love. Her work has been produced by Victory Theater (L.A.), West Coast Ensemble, Philadelphia Theater Company, Walnut Street Theater, Studio Arena, and The Glines (NYC), among others. She has several published plays including Up to Date, Lady-Like, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Portrait of a Nude, and The Other Shakespeare, and has been honored with a number of playwriting awards, including a Fringe First Award for Outstanding New Drama (Edinburgh), a Drama-Logue Award, and a 2006-2007 Aurand Harris Fellowship from the Children's Theater Foundation of America. She is thrilled for Pistachio Stories to be part of ReOrient 2008.

Liz Seibert (Set Design) is a freelance set designer, illustrator, and animator in the Bay Area. She is a recent graduate of the Religious Studies Department at Stanford University . This is Liz’s first San Francisco production.

Lynne Soffer* (Miriam, Soul Ensemble) has appeared this year in Heartbreak House at Berkeley Rep,  Rabbit Hole at San Jose Rep and Ambition Facing West at Theaterworks. Previously she has acted in productions with ACT, San Francisco Opera, California Shakespeare Theater, The Aurora, Sacramento Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Word for Word, Campo Santo, Encore, PCPA Theaterfest, Alaska Repertory, Sherwood Shakespeare Festival, Acadia Repertory of Maine, in New York City with Direct Theatre and 29th Street Project and Golden Thread's ReOrient 2003. She also teaches acting, speech and textwork and has served as dialect/text coach on over 150 theater productions around the country.

Naomi Wallace (Playwright) is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Genius Award. Winner of an Obie Award for best play, Wallace's major plays include Things of Dry Hours, One Flea Spare, The Trestle of Pope Lick Creek, In the Heart of America , Slaughter City , The War Boys, The Inland Sea and Birdy.  Her work  as well as an Obie Award for best play.   Naomi Wallace was born in Kentucky , and presently lives in North Yorkshire, England. Her work has been awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, the Kesselring Prize and the Mobil Prize, among others.

Zachary Watkins (Sound Design) has studied composition with Janice Giteck, Jarrad Powell, Robin Holcomb and Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College .  In 2006, Zachary received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith and Alvin Curran.  Zachary has received commissions from Clarinetist Beth Fleenor (, pianist and composer Tiffany Lin, Cornish College of The Arts, The Microscores Project (, The Beam Foundation (, Somnubutone Radio Series (, the sfSoundGroup ( as well as a Mills Research Grant.  His piece Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition. Zachary recently performed at the 2006 International Computer Music Conference and the 2007 Bent Festival in Los Angeles with his band The Pink Canoes.  Zachary was sound designer/composer for the play “I have loved Strangers” produced by Just Theatre, which was listed as one of the “top ten of 2007” in the East Bay Express. His most recent sound art work entitled Designed Obsolescence, "spoke as a metaphor for the breakdown of the dream of technology and the myth of our society’s permanence," review by Susan Noyes Platt in the Summer 05 issue of ARTLIES (  During October of 2006, Zachary was an artist in residence at the Espy Foundation. (

Torange Yeghiazarian (Director) writes, directs and acts for the theatre. A native of Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University . Her play Call Me Mehdi is included in “Salaam/Peace: An Anthology of Middle-Eastern American Playwrights” published by TCG in 2008. Other plays include Waves, Dawn at Midnight, Behind Glass Windows, Abaga. As a teaching artist, Torange has taught playwriting to at-risk youth as part of the Each One Reach One program, incorporated theatre into social studies in Richmond ’s Washington Elementary School as part of East Bay Center for Performing Arts’ Learning Without Borders program, and led acting and play development workshops for Golden Thread Productions . She is the Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions , where she has devoted her professional life to exploring Middle Eastern culture and identity through theatre arts.

Ignacio Zulueta (Playwright) an early-career playwright based in Oakland , California . He is a graduate of Brown University ’s playwriting honors program, where he studied with Paula Vogel, Nilo Cruz, and Bridget Carpenter. He was a 2004-2005 Tournesol Playwriting Resident at Z Space Studios and a recipient of the 2004 William Morris Society Award. Readings of his plays have been done at the Ashland New Plays Festival in Oregon , the Magic Theatre, the Bus Barn

Theatre, and other diverse locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


* Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.


Torange Yeghiazarian, Artistic Director
131 10th Street, Third Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 / 415.626.4061 /