Autobiography of a Terrorist
a world premiere play by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
directed by Evren Odcikin
Saïd has written a play about growing up Iranian and Jewish-American during the Iran hostage crisis. As he and his well-meaning collaborators try to stage his script, things go quickly and hilariously from bad to worse. Will Saïd ever be able to just fit in? Whiting Award–winning writer Sayrafiezadeh (Brief Encounters With the Enemy, When Skateboards Will Be Free) brilliantly pokes fun at the complications of hyphenated identity in America.
“Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is a name you may want to remember. He writes with extraordinary power.” —The New York Times
April 14-May 7, 2017
at Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco)
Thursdays–Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm
Previews: April 14-16; Opening: Monday, April 17; No performance: Thursday, April 20
Thanks to The Zellerbach Family Foundation for their generous support of Autobiography of a Terrorist.
Special Artist Conversation
CHALLENGES FACED BY MUSLIM ARTISTS TODAY
Join us for a post-show discussion with Autobiography of a Terrorist playwright Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, and filmmaker Raeshma Razvi and calligrapher Arash Shirinbab, who lead Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California’s arts programs. Moderated by Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian, the conversation will explore how Muslim artists are responding to the current political atmosphere in America.
Press About Autobiography of a Terrorist
Meta humor and politics collide in Autobiography of a Terrorist
Playwright Said Sayrafiezadeh and Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian are interviewed by SF Chronicle‘s Brandon Yu.
The name game: Playwright mines identity issues in comic Terrorist
Playwright Said Sayrafiezadeh is interviewed by J Weekly‘s Robert Nagler Miller.
SF/Arts Monthly Theatre Pick
Autobiography of a Terrorist is a theatre pick for SF/Arts Monthly‘s Jean Schiffman.
“A multi-layered, intellectually complex, and splendid piece of work… Under Odcikin’s deft (and often breathless) direction, Golden Thread’s ensemble of five determined artists jumps through acting hoops that range from hilariously fake attempts at empathy to painfully honest confessions; from surprisingly agile bits of physical comedy to heartbreaking moments of personal cruelty.”
—The Huffington Post
“The show is often very funny, especially in the many uncomfortable moments between the performers. Just as often, it’s disturbing in how aptly it captures how thin people’s veneer of tolerance can be, even — or rather especially — when they believe it to be genuine.”
—The Mercury News
“Relax everybody — Autobiography is a comedy! No bombs or blood. Just a provocative (and amusing) account of what it meant to be a ‘hyphenated American’.”
“Throughout Autobiography, there’s a running joke about people mispronouncing [Said’s last name]: “Stirfryday” is the funniest example. The play repeats this seemingly unimportant point to make a larger one. A certain American demographic remains indifferent and wary of other cultures and other languages. For those who can’t pass as a Smith or Jones, Sayrafiezadeh also points out that the rah-rah jingoism of a USA chant always carries a belligerent edge.”
“Autobiography of a Terrorist feels like art imitating life — brilliantly.”
Plan Your Visit
Potrero Stage was formerly known as Thick House, and is located in Potrero Hill, at 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.
Street parking is available nearby. Potrero Stage is also accessible by public transportation. The theatre is just a short bus ride from the 16th Street BART Station and accessible on the following Muni Bus Lines: 10, 19 & 22.
Potrero Stage is wheelchair accessible.
Planning an evening on the town? Check out these local eateries within walking distance of Potrero Stage!
Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is the author of the story collection, BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ENEMY, a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Fiction Prize, and the critically acclaimed memoir, WHEN SKATEBOARDS WILL BE FREE, selected as one of the ten best books of the year by Dwight Garner of THE NEW YORK TIMES. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in THE NEW YORKER, THE PARIS REVIEW, GRANTA, MCSWEENEY’S, THE NEW YORK TIMES, and NEW AMERICAN STORIES, among other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction, a fiction fellowship from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and two playwriting fellowships from New York Theatre Workshop. Saïd teaches memoir in the MFA program at Hunter College and creative writing at New York University, where he received a 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award. He currently serves on the board of directors for the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Evren Odcikin is a freelance director and the Director of New Plays and Marketing at Golden Thread Productions, where he leads all new play development activities and helps with programming and producing the mainstage season. For the company, he recently produced the ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Plays and Yussef El Guindi’s Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat.
His recent directing credits include the world premiere of MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys at InterACT Theatre Company (Barrymore Recommended), I Call My Brothers by Jonas Hassen Khemiri at Cleveland Public Theatre; Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms in San Francisco and Los Angeles (critic’s pick for LA Times), Mona Mansour’s Urge For Going, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’s Autobiography of a Terrorist, and Kevin Artigue’s The Most Dangerous Highway in the World (TBA Awards Recommended Production and 6 BATCC nominations, including best director) at Golden Thread; HeLa by Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy at TheatreFirst (TBA Awards Recommended Production); I Call My Brothers (TBA Awards nomination for Outstanding Direction) and Invasion! by Jonas Hassen Khemiri and GONE by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (Production Notebook feature in American Theatre Magazine) at Crowded Fire; Mutt: Let’s All Talk About Race by Christopher Chen for Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus (Top 10 Plays of 2014, Theater Dogs); his adaptation of Plautus’s The Braggart Soldier for Custom Made (TBA Awards Recommended, four BATCC nominations, including best director); The Oldest Profession by Paula Vogel and Machinal (three BATCC nominations, including best director) for Brava Theater Center; and Rhino for Boxcar (“Most Inventive Staging of 2010” from SF Weekly, “Best Play of 2010” from SF Bay Times).
He has directed and developed new plays at South Coast Rep, The Lark, O’Neill Theatre Center, Kennedy Center, National New Plays Network Showcase, TheatreSquared, InterACT Theatre Company (Philadelphia), Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, Brava Theatre Center, SF Playhouse, and Playwrights Foundation with such writers as Eugenie Chan, Christopher Chen, Prince Gomolvilas, David Jacobi, Michael Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, Nick Nanna Mwaluko, Han Ong, Marisela Traviño Orta, Betty Shamieh, Caridad Svich, and Lauren Yee.
A graduate of Princeton University, Evren was named a “Theatre Worker to Watch” by American Theatre Magazine in 2016, awarded a 2015 National Directors Fellowship by the O’Neill, NNPN, Kennedy Center, and SDCF; the 2013 TITAN Award for Directors by Theatre Bay Area; and was selected as an Emerging Theatre Leader by Theatre Communications Group for their American Express Leadership Bootcamp in 2012 . Evren has served on grant panels for National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group, Theatre Bay Area, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Evren is a founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with Middle Eastern stories. Upcoming: Kiss by Guillermo Calderón at Shotgun Players and the world premiere of Mona Mansour’s We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War at Golden Thread. odcikin.com
Jenna Apollonia, Patricia Austin, Cassidy Brown*, Alan Coyne, Damien Seperi
Jenna Apollonia (assistant stage manager), Cassie Barnes (lighting designer), Miyuki Bierlein (costume designer), Christian Cagigal (magic consultant), Beckett Finn (technical director), Sara Huddleston (sound designer), Benjamin Shiu* (stage manager), Torange Yeghiazarian (producer)
*Member Actors’ Equity