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ReOrient 2004-Sixth Annual Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East
Selections include Between the Eyes, a play by the MacArthur Genius Award recipient, Naomi Wallace, Compression of a Casualty by Kevin Doyle,  exploring the news coverage of the Iraq War; as well as a special performance OPENING WEEK ONLY by Bay Area native, Betty Shamieh, performing excerpts from her critically acclaimed play of monologues, Chocolate in Heat, Growing Up Arab in America.

Presented in two alternating series:
Series 1, Thursdays & Saturdays
  • Chocolate in Heat, Growing Up Arab in America  by Betty Shamieh 
    Excerpts from critically acclaimed monologues about love, sex and privilege told through the eyes of Arab-American characters. Special performance by the author OPENING WEEK.
  • Disheartened  by Melis Bilgin directed by Hal Gelb
    Set in a post apocalyptic world, two boys' search for food produces an unimaginable outcome.
  • Between the Eyes by Naomi Wallace directed by Amy Mueller
    An Israeli man remembers his father's mistreatment of their Palestinian house-keeper. A deeply moving monologue by this recipient of the McArthur Fellowship, the Genius Award.
  • Falling by William Borden directed by Arlene Hood
    An imaginary conversation between two people jumping off one of the Towers on 9/11.
  • Taziyeh by Novid Parsi directed by Arlene Hood
    A Taziyeh troupe enlists an Iranian-American to play Shemr, the man who murders Hussain. It is a part no one wants to play, and no one will? 
    ["Taziyeh" is a Shiite passion play about the martyrdom of Hussain in Karbala.]

Series 2, Fridays & Sundays
  • Don't Eat the Tomatoes by Fatma Durmush directed by Torange Yeghiazarian
    Misery turns humans into a tomato. A Turkish couple first reject and then explore the commercial possibilities of this phenomenon.
  • Compression of a Casualty by Kevin Doyle directed by Laura Hope
    CNN news reporters stuck in the narrative of an American soldier's death in Iraq. They can neither tell the deeper tale, nor move on.
  • Dinner/ Khnamakhos by Lilly Thomassian directed by Meredith Weiss Friedman
    Two Armenian families gather to celebrate the union of their son and daughter. The only problem is, the daughter has become entirely invisible!
Special Events, Free to the Public:
Saturday, September 18 at 4 pm, Noh Space
"Tazieh," a Traditional Iranian Passion Play 
Historical context & contemporary experiments
Presenters: Rebecca Ansary Pettys, theater scholar and artist, Haleh Hatami, poet

Sunday, October 3 at 4 pm, Noh Space
Playwrights' Roundtable
Join the artists in an informal discussion on writing and the Middle East

Staged Reading Series:

Wednesday, September 29@ Noh Space
The Beauty Inside by Catherine Filloux directed by Jessica Heidt
A touching story of an unexpected friendship between two very different women. Based on the true case of an honor killing that is averted in Turkey.

Tuesday, October 5 @ Noh Space
Guest of a Few Days by Mohsen Yalfani directed by Torange Yeghiazarian 
A love triangle exposes the political conflict between two friends whose paths diverted in pre-revolutionary Iran. 

Wednesday, October 20 @ Ashby Stage**
Shooting Magda by Joshua Sobol directed by Amy Mueller. 
The line between fact and fiction blurs during this overnight film shooting by Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Monday, November 1 @ A Traveling Jewish Theatre
Bounty of Lace by Susan Merson, directed by Rebecca Novick 
This play follows a delicious afternoon tea party among four Israeli women which disintegrates into an exploration of the romantic boundaries of the politically fraught region. 

Artist Biographies
William Borden's scripts have won 37 national playwriting competitions and have had over 200 productions.  The film version of his play, The Last Prostitute, was shown on Lifetime Television and in Europe and is available on video.  His novel, Superstoe, was recently republished by Orloff Press.  A Core Alumnus Playwright at The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, he is Playwright-in -Residence with Listening Winds Theatre.  He is a member of PEN, The Dramatists Guild, ASCAP and the Authors Guild.

Fatma Durmush was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, in 1959.  At the age of six, she migrated to England with her family and, despite a brief return to Cyprus in her teens, went to school in London and studied Humanities at the Open University for two years.  Her work has been published in the Turkish language press and in the Big Issue and Daily Express.  Fatma�s collection of plays and short stories, I Sit in the Light,  was published in 2000.  She won first prize for poetry in the FATAL Short Story and Poetry Competition for Turkish Speaking Women in 1998.  Her poems can be found in Modern Poetry in Translation, New Series No. 17 � 2001.  Fatima writes in English.

Novid Parsi, a son of immigrant Iranians, grew up in East Texas and studied literature at Swarthmore and Duke.  His plays have been produced and given staged readings by Immigrants' Theatre Project, New York; The New Group, New York; Stephen Joseph, Scarborough, England; Paines Plough, London; and the Young Vic, London, among others. Novid has also published short fiction and criticism.  He lives in Chicago.

Betty Shamieh is a Palestinian-American writer and actor. She is currently a Van Lier Fellow at New Dramatists. Her solo performance work Chocolate in Heat, in addition to being remounted off-off-Broadway, will tour various theatres on the West Coast.  Betty presented a monologue Tamam she wrote for Imagine: Iraq at Cooper Union (co-presented by The Artists Network and SALAAM), which will be presented in London and New York at the Brave New World Festivals.  She, along with a group of writers including David Henry Hwang, has been invited to contribute a new work for the Victory Project that will be presented at Columbia University's Miller Theatre later this year.  She received a BA in English Language and Literature from Harvard College, MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is presently a Professor of Screenwriting at Marymount Manhattan College.

Lilly Thomassian was born in Iran and studied at the University of Geneva.  She is an award-winning poet and playwright.  In 1998, she was selected to participate in Wordsmiths, a workshop supported by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Department.  That same year, her one-act play, How Do I Look, was a finalist in the Pathway Productions� National Contest.  The Interrogation, a play inspired by the Iranian revolution, was a finalist in the 2001 Ashland New Plays Festival and the 2003 Senachai Festival in Chicago.  She is perhaps best known for her play, Let the Rocks Speak, which won the 2001 Catawba College Peterson Award. It  was also awarded an Honorable Mention in the Plays for the 21st Century by the Playwrights Theater in Texas and was the finalist in the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Competition.  In 2002, parts of the play were performed during the 1st Annual Genocide Commemorative Event at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.  Let the Rocks Speak was produced by ShapeShifter Productions in March 2003 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood. Lilly has been a long time active member of FirstStage in Hollywood, where she is currently part of the Artistic Committee. She is also member of Playwrights Ink, a prestigious playwriting group whose members� plays have won many theatre awards.  She belongs to the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.


Naomi Wallace was a 1999 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the grant popularly known as the genius award. Her newest play, The Inland Sea, will have its world premiere in London this spring, produced by the Oxford Stage Company.  Slaughter City was awarded the 1995 Mobil Prize and  received its world premiere in January 1996 at the Royal Shakespeare Company. In The Heart Of America received its world premiere at the Bush and was subsequently produced at the Long Wharf Theater and in Dortmund, Germany. It was published in American Theater magazine and was awarded the 1995 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her plays are published in Great Britain by Faber and Faber, and in the U S by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. A collection of her plays, In The Heart Of America And Other Plays,  was published by TCG in 2001.  At present, Wallace is under commission by The New York Shakespeare Festival-The Public Theatre, Paines Plough of London, and is also co-writing a film script on the Ludlow massacre of 1913 with Bruce McLeod and the historian Howard Zinn.

Advanced ticket sales available by phone using MC/Visa ($5 fee)

Reservations/ Info: 510.986.9194

September 16 to October 10
Noh Space
2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco

October 15 - 24
The Ashby Stage
1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley

Previews - 3 admitted for the price of 1: September 16 & 17

Opening Night Performance & Reception: September 18, $25 

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm & Sundays at 7 pm 

Matinees at 3 pm on Sunday, October 17 and 24


General Admission $18,     TBA/Student/Senior $12

Previews - 3 admitted for the price of 1
Opening Night Performance & Reception: $25

Performed At

September 16 to October 10
Noh Space
2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco

October 15 - 24
The Ashby Stage
1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley


Dinner by Lilly Thomassian

Tazieh by Novid Parsi

Don't Eat the Tomatoes 
by Fatma Durmush

Series 1 Performance:

Toby Brooks & Ben Beecroft in Melis Bilgin's "Disheartened"

Katie Brown & David Fierro in William Borden's "Falling"

Series 2 Performance:

Max Ewalt & Sheri Bass in Lilly Tomassian's "Dinner"

Zak Kilberg in Kevin Doyle's "Compression of a Casualty"


Ann Marie Donahue, Ben Beecroft, Cyrus Tinati, David Fierro, Doyle Ott, Katy Brown, Keahn Malak-Madani, Lisa Tateosian, Maxmillienne Ewalt, Nail Ghechem, Patrick MacKellan, Sara Luna, Sheri Bass, Suha Araj, Tiffany Harrison, Toby Brooks, Vida Ghahremani, Zak Kilberg.

Sound Design: Marc Hagan
Light Design: Stephen Siegel
Set Design: Mikiko Uesugi
Costume Design: Keri Fitch
Video Artist: Alan Jose

Set Build & Props: Patrick Keene
Stage Manager: Diana Strachan
Production Ast: Lisa Medina

Graphic Design: Miriam Behpour