Selected from 79 submissions from 14 countries, the seven short plays of the 2017 edition of Golden Thread’s hallmark event feature Afghanistan, Armenia, England, Iran, Japan, Palestine, Turkey, and the U.S.
Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company focused on the Middle East celebrating its 20th anniversary, is proud to announce the seven writers for its prestigious ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Plays, selected through a competitive, international submission process. The winners include Bay Area writers: Betty Shamieh, E.H. Benedict, and Torange Yeghiazarian. Audience favorite of ReOrient 2015, Palestinian-Irish playwright Hannah Khalil returns this year. Turkish-American writer/performer Melis Aker and Armenian-American playwright Sevan K. Greene are the newcomers to the ReOrient family. Acclaimed Japanese-American poet Junichi P. Semitsu, whose poem Shelter will be adapted as a sound installation Torange Yeghiazarian and James Ard completes the line-up. The winning short plays are diverse in content and style, highlighting the multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities. In addition, ten playwrights received Honorable Mentions: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Harut Akopyan, Mudar Alhaggi, Leila Buck, Shay Goldstein, Atar Hadari, Uday Jhunjhunwala, Mustafa Kaymak, Daria Polatin, and Lilly Thomassian.
The ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Plays will run November 17–December 10, 2017 at Potrero Stage (aka Thick House) in San Francisco. The selection committee for ReOrient 2017 included luminaries Catherine Coray (Theatre Program Head, NYU Abu Dhabi & Director, US-Middle East Playwright Exchange at the Lark Play Development Center), Philip Kan Gotanda (Award-winning playwright & Professor, UC Berkeley Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies), Roberta Levitow (Co-founder, Theatre Without Borders & Senior Program Associate, Middle East North Africa Sundance Institute Theatre Program), Roberto Gutierrez Varea (Professor, University of San Francisco, Performing Arts and Social Justice Program). Golden Thread Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian and Director of New Plays and Marketing Evren Odcikin were also part of the committee.
Golden Thread’s Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian says: “We faced a very difficult decision this year because submissions were of exceptional high caliber. These are writers that reflect and shape our perception of some of the most important events of our times. Each short play exhibits a unique voice and distinct style and together they take us on a rich and thrilling journey of the Middle East experience today. This feels both dangerous and imperative given the increasing misperceptions and growing antagonism of the Middle East and its people.”
ReOrient Festival of Short Plays was inaugurated in 1999 to present alternative perspectives of the Middle East and to showcase the multiplicity of stories, voices, and styles from the region and has since become Golden Thread’s most recognized and celebrated program. This ambitious festival, now presented biennially, turns San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. It has served as a springboard for the careers of top Middle Eastern-American playwrights such as Yussef El Guindi and Mona Mansour, and has introduced Bay Area audiences to significant and rarely-produced dramatic works from the Middle East by authors such as Sadegh Hedayat, Fatma Gallaire, and Tawfiq Al-Hakim. Alongside Middle Eastern voices, ReOrient also features the work of non-Middle Eastern playwrights exploring the region, and has included premieres by such distinguished American playwrights such as Naomi Wallace, Eric Ehn, and Israel Horovitz.
REORIENT 2017 FESTIVAL OF SHORT PLAYS
November 17 – December 10, 2017 at Potrero Stage, San Francisco (aka Thick House)
Manar by Melis Aker
War on Terror by E.H. Benedict
A is For Ali by Sevan K. Greene
The Rehearsal by Hannah Khalil
Make No Mistake by Betty Shamieh
Thanksgiving at Khodabakhshian’s by Torange Yeghiazarian
Sound installation: Junichi P. Semitsu’s poem, Shelter, adapted by Torange Yeghiazarian
REORIENT 2017 HONORABLE MENTIONS:
The Tune is Always Better on the Outside by Hassan Abdulrazzak
Sounds of Diaspora by Harut Akopyan
Your Love is Fire by Mudar Alhaggi
One by Leila Buck
Release Day by Shay Golstein
A Whiff of the Fox by Atar Hadari
Show Me the Way by Uday Jhunjhunwala
The Basement by Mustafa Kaymak
This is a House by Daria Polatin
The Stranger by Lilly Thomassian