"Short Plays, Deep Impact - Golden Thread Productions triumphs with the ReOrient Festival."  -San Francisco Bay Guardian 


The Plays

o       A State of Innocence by Naomi Wallace, recent MacArthur �Genius� Fellow (North America premiere) / Directed by Isis Saratial Misdary

A Palestinian woman and an Israeli soldier arrive at a new level of understanding when she visits him at the ruined zoo in Rafah (Gaza Strip).

o       Parable for a Dark Time by San Francisco playwright George Crowe  (World premiere)/Directed by William Selig

An abstract  poem set to performance where the central character retells his experience of being abducted. 

o       Sniper by Egyptian-born playwright Yussef El Guindi  (World premiere)/ Directed by: Hal Gelb

A peace activist's meeting with a sniper at a cocktail party ignites a series of questions about the movement's strategies against war.

o       Worm by Shahe Mankerian, an Armenian-American author  (World premiere) / Directed by Laura Hope

In this comedy, four Armenian young men congregate at the men's room of a hotel to lament their friend's decision to marry a non-Armenian. They chastise his lack of commitment to the preservation of Armenian heritage while fantacizing about spending the night with the bridesmaids.

o       Learn to be Latina by San Francisco playwright Enrique E. Urueta  (World premiere) / Directed by Mary Guzman

hilarious comedy where a Labanese young singer is told by a music industry executive that in order to make it in the music industry, she must pretend to be half Latina!

o       Call me Mehdi by San Francisco playwright Torange Yeghiazarian  (World premiere) / Directed by Meg Patterson

An Iranian woman and American man reach for a new level of intimacy by irreverently exploring their mutually-held cultural stereotypes.

Special Events

FREE SEMINAR WITH ONE OF EGYPT'S MOST PROLIFIC PLAYWRIGHTS

The Life and Work of Lenin El Ramly

The festival�s second week will feature a seminar at UC Berkeley to introduce the works of the outstanding and prolific Egyptian writer, Lenin El Ramly, as well as a staged reading of his play, Nightmare, directed by Amy Mueller.  

This event is presented in partnership with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Egyptian Consulate of San Francisco.

November 15th - 5:30pm/Free 

The Sultan Room, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 340 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley


"Berkeley Lecture Series" in partnership with Golden Thread Productions presents

A Presentation by  Mahmood Karimi Hakkak 

Topic: Theatre and Censorship in Contemporary Iran

In Feb. 1999, Mahmood Karimi-Hakak staged Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Tehran, Iran.  This production was raided and closed down on its fifth night of sold-out performances, and Karimi-Hakak was charged with "outrage against the public decorum."  Although the official trial was inconclusive, he received anonymous death threats against his wife and twin two-year-old daughters.  The family left Iran in June 1999.

Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Artistic Director of Mahak International Artists Inc., is a poet, theatre director and filmmaker.  He has written, produced, directed, designed and acted in over 50 stage and screen productions in the US, Europe and his native Iran.  His literary credits include five plays, two books of poetry, several translations from and into Persian and numerous articles and interviews both in English and Persian.  Dr. Karimi-Hakak has taught at CUNY, Towson and Southern Methodist universities here in America, as well as universities in Belgium and Iran.  At present he serves as Associate Professor of Creative Arts and Producer of Theatre at Siena College where he recently received the Raymond Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award.

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2005
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Place:
Room 2040 Valley Life Science Building, University of California, Berkeley

The program will include the presentation of the documentary film �Dream Interrupted� followed by Question & Answer.

Film in Persian with English Subtitles (Q&A in English and Persian)

Suggested Donation: $10.00

Further questions may be directed to: berkeleylectures@yahoo.com 


Artist Biographies
Yussef El Guindi (Golden Thread Core  Artist) - Sniper

Yussef El Guindi is a playwright living in Seattle. He was playwright-in-residence at Duke University for several years. His most recent productions include Finishing School, So Unlike Me,  Trading In My Arab (in Seattle), Karima�s City (in San Francisco; and as part of 2004�s Cairo International Experimental Theater Festival),  Murder in the Mirror ( a radio play presented by �Stage Shadows� at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York) and Men On Mars (another radio play aired in 2004 by �Shoestring Radio Theater�). His play Ten Acrobats in An Amazing Leap of Faith  is scheduled for productions this year in Chicago and Seattle.  Back of The Throat is also being presented  in Seattle by �Theater Schmeater�.

 

Shahe Mankerian - Worm

In 1979, at the age of twelve, Shahe Mankerian found himself digesting a new language in the Pasadena Unified School District. Away from the Civil War of Lebanon, Shahe began experimenting with written dialogue, both in poetic and dramatic form. Soon after graduating high school, he wrote and staged three plays dealing with a generation of Armenians lost in America. Teenage Wasteland, Youthquaker, and The Devil�s Children, comprised a trilogy of dramatic angst against the melting pot of America. During this period of productivity, Mankerian also published a collection of verse entitled Children of Honey.
 
Shahe received his graduate degree in English from California State University, Los Angeles in 2000. Los Angeles Poetry Festival recognized him as one of the newer voices of 2001. In 2002, he was featured as a guest poet on Inspiration House with Peter Harris on KPFK. That same year, he also won both Erika Mumford Prize and Daniel Varoujan Award from the New England Poetry Club. Writers at Work selected one of his poems for the 2002 Common Prayers project. In 2003, AGBU�s Ardavazt Juniors revived Mankerian�s 1991 play, Teenage Wasteland. Later that year, Edifice Wrecked nominated Mankerian�s poem �She�s Hiding My Keys� for the 2004 Pushcart Prize. In the summer of 2004 & 2005, Shahe was a recipient of a writing grant from the Los Angeles Writer�s Project. His latest one-act play Vort (Worm) will be performed at the 2005 ReOrient Festival in San Francisco, and at the same time, it is being adapted into a short film. Shahe is also working on a new project with the Fountain Theatre of Los Angeles. He is co-writing a play about the immigrant community in Hollywood�s Little Armenia.
 
Mankerian�s publication credits include Ararat, Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets, Crab Orchard Review, Edifice Wrecked, On the Page, Pasadena Star News, and San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly. He is featured in the Armenian-American anthology, Birthmark.  
 
Shahe recently accepted the principalship position at Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian Armenian School in Pasadena.  

 

George Crowe - Parable for a Dark Time

George Crowe is delighted to be working with Golden Thread. He is a member of the Z Artists Lab at Z Space Studio where "Parable" originated and where he is developing his play "Tailings" set in 1893 San Francisco. Other plays of his have received readings in Berkeley, Santa Rosa, Chicago and New York. His one-page plays have been produced locally by Abydos, the Directors Theater, which commissioned his joint translation/ adaptation of Pierre  Marivaux's 1724 play "The False Servant", currently being presented in San Francisco. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

 

Enrique E. Urueta - Learn to be Latina

Colombian-American, by way of Virginia, Enrique grew up with a southern drawl and was educated at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where he studied theatre and geology. A Bay Area resident since 2002, Enrique has been a literary intern at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2002-3), a literary associate at The Playwrights Foundation (2003-4), the literary manager for Impact Theater (2003-4), and is the current literary manager for foolsFURY Theater Company in San Francisco (2004-present). He has studied playwriting with Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw, Prince Gomolvilas, Erik Ehn, Christine Evans and Liz Duffy Adams. His play The Johnson Administration was produced by Impact Theatre in Berkeley in August 2003. His play The Danger of Bleeding Brown was presented as a staged reading on June 3, 2005 as part of the National Queer Arts Festival. His one-act play Learn To Be Latina received a staged reading in the 2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and freelances as a production dramaturg for Bay Area theatre companies (currently Chay Yew�s Porcelain with Crowded Fire). He also works as a developmental dramaturg with Bay Area playwrights in the development of new plays. The playwrights he has advised have gone on to win local and statewide awards, as well as several finalists for the Heideman award, administered by Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is a proud member of NoPassport, a pan-American theatre coalition devoted the advocacy of Latino/a and hemispherically-minded work. He can be reached at enrique_urueta@hotmail.com

 

Torange Yeghiazarian (Golden Thread Artistic Director) - Call Me Mehdi

Torange Yeghiazarian is the Founder and Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, dedicated to theater that explores Middle Eastern culture and identity represented throughout the globe.  Torange is an Iranian-born theatre artist of Armenian heritage, and she writes, directs and performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She made her directorial debut with WAVES, which premiered at the San Francisco Fringe Festival to sold-out audiences and received rave reviews from Bay Area critics.  She has adapted and directed Aristophanes� Lysistrata in her production OPERATION NO PENETRATION, Lysistrata 97!  Her other directing credits include Albert Camus� Caligula and Sadegh Hedayat�s Behind the Glass Window.  She has performed in Persian in Farhad Ayeesh�s Last Supper Comedy at the Darvag Theater in Berkeley and Dario Fo�s one-woman show A Woman Alone at the Live Oak Theater. Torange received her Master�s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University where she collaborated with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in creating the melodrama TORCH.

 
Tickets

Buy Tickets Now

or Call 415-626-4061 for information 

DIRECTIONS - CLICK HERE

Dates
PREVIEWS: Friday, November 11, 8pm - Celebrating Free Theatre Day, PREVIEW FREE TO THE PUBLIC, First Come First Serve

OPENS: Saturday-Sunday, November 12, 13 @ 8pm

RUN:  Wednesday � Saturday, November 16, 17, 18, 19 @ 8pm

Sunday, November 20 @ 7pm

Friday � Saturday, November 25, 26 @ 8pm

Sunday, November 27 @ 7pm

Wednesday � Saturday, November 30, December 1, 2, 3 @ 8pm

Sunday, December 4 @ 7pm
Admission

$20 General Admission 

$15 Student/Senior/TBA Member Discount

Student Groups of 10 or more $10 per ticket

Wednesday, November 16th and 30th: All Tickets $10

Special Gala Performance and Reception November 12, $30  

Performed At

The Magic Theatre (Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco)

Production Staff

Production Manager: Meg Patterson
Stage Managers: Jen Attwood, Tara Backes   
Lighting Design: David Robertson 
Sound Design: Ian Walker
Set Design: Evren Odcikin
Costume Design: Paula Gruber

Synopsis

Golden Thread Productions hallmark event, ReOrient: the annual festival of short plays about the Middle East, is back for another thought-provoking and transformative season.  For four weeks each year, this one-of-a-kind festival turns San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and attention-grabbing theatre from around the world.

At a time when the Middle East is at the forefront of the news on a daily basis, the ReOrient festival provides a rare opportunity for artists and audiences alike to engage deeply and directly with the Middle East in a creative and supportive setting that displaces misinformation and encourages understanding.  It is a process that has been summed up by the San Francisco Chronicle as being �haunting and provocative�with reverberations far beyond its immediate cultural context.� 

read more..


Artist Biographies

Naomi Wallace - A State of Innocence                      

Naomi Wallace is from Kentucky. Her newest play, THE INLAND SEA, will have its world premiere in London this spring, produced by the Oxford Stage Company.  THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK premiered at the 1998 Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, was produced in the spring of 1999 by New York Theatre Workshop, and by the Edinburgh Theatre in the spring of 2001. Her play ONE FLEA SPARE was commissioned and produced in October 1995 by the Bush Theatre in London. It received its American premiere at the Humana Festival and was awarded the 1996 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the 1996 Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, the 1996 Kesselring Prize, and the 1997 Obie Award for Best Play. It was produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival in March 1997 and is being produced for film by the producer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. 

BIRDY, an adaptation for the stage of William Wharton's novel, opened on the West End in London at the Comedy Theater in March 1997 and in Athens, Greece, at the same time.

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.

Wallace was a 1999 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the grant popularly known as the genius award.

A published poet in both England and in the United States, she has also received grants from The Kentucky Foundation for Women and The Kentucky Arts Council, and a 1997 N E A grant for poetry. Her book of poetry, To Dance A Stony Field, was published in the United Kingdom in May 1995.

Her film, LAWN DOGS, produced by Duncan Kenworthy, opened successfully in Great Britain, moved to the U S, and has won numerous film awards. Wallace and co-writer Bruce McLeod have adapted her play THE WAR BOYS for film, which is set to be shot this year. She has also adapted with Bruce McLeod for film the novel TOUCHED by Carolyn Haines.

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.

 

Lenin El Ramly - Nightmare

Lenin El Ramly is an "Independent" writer of plays for stage, film and television.  He is not employed by, nor does he receive funding from, any governmental or non-governmental entity.

Lenin El Ramly was born in Cairo, Egypt on August 18, 1945.  His parents were involved in the press and politics as he was growing up. Mr. El Ramly's first short story was published in the magazine Sabah El Kheir in 1956.  In 1970 he obtained a bachelor's degree from the High Institute of Theatrical Art,  specializing in critique and theatrical literature. In 1967, while still a student, Mr. El Ramly began writing socio-comic plays and series for television. These plays and series acquired popularity and are still broadcast in Egypt to this day.

In 1971 Mr. El Ramly began writing for the cinema by cooperating with the famous Egyptian film director Salah Abu Seif.  After being censored for 25 years the film was produced in 2002 under the title of The Ostrich and the Peacock. Mr. El Ramly went on to write twelve scripts for the cinema, three of them with Salah Abu Seif, including The Beginning which won the audience award at the Vivay Film Festival for Comic Films in 1987. In 1994 Mr. El Ramly wrote the film The Terrorist, which was considered as the first artistic challenge against terrorism in Egypt. In 1974 Mr. El Ramly began to acquire popularity as a playwright. Since then, a year hasn't pass where at least one of his plays hasn't been performed. To date, Mr. El Ramly has had 38 plays (including 5 short plays) performed in the private theatres of Egypt, and also by amateur theatres, colleges, troupes, and cultural centers throughout the country. Many of Mr. El Ramly's plays have also been  performed internationally in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Qatar, UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, France, and Australia.

In 1980 Mr. El Ramly founded a troupe called Studio 80. His aim was to present plays that differed from the mainstream of commercial theatre. This troupe performed six of his plays including, The Hesitant One, You Are Free, The Uncivilized, Hallucinations, A Point of View, and In Plain Arabic. In Plain Arabic  gained the attention of the world press including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Herald Tribune, and other leading magazines and newspapers in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Japan. The Encyclopedia of Egyptian Theatre praised In Plain Arabic, stating that it discussed profound subjects concerning Arab reality in a sharp and daring way.  In 1993, the Foreigner's Press Club in Cairo organized a conference to discuss In Plain Arabic, followed in 1997 by another meeting to discuss all of the author's works. Unfortunately, In Plain Arabic, as predicted by many correspondents, was never performed outside Egypt. Tunisia refused to allow its performance although it was scheduled to represent Egypt in the Carthage Theatre Festival.

In 1989 the National State Theatre presented Mr. El Ramly's play Welcome Beys, Goodbye Beys in 1997, and Would You Like to See a Tragedy? in 2003. Welcome Beys gained unique success by garnering the highest income rates ever at the State Theatre, which opened in the 1930's. Welcome Beys also represented Egypt in the Theatre Festival in Baghdad, Carthage Theatre Festival, and also in upper Egypt, where theatre is rarely performed.

The state owned Comedy Theatre presented A Ghost for Every Citizen in 1988, Hopefully All is Well in 1997, and Saalouk Wins a Million in 2003.

In 1993 Mr. El Ramly founded another theatre troupe called Studio 2000. Under Studio 2000, Mr. El Ramly wrote and produced a number of theatrical plays including, The Incident, The Headach, Human Madness, The Secrets of Canded Camera, Wisen Up Doctor, and Adam and Eve.  He also wrote short experimental plays, including The Nightmare (1993), The Shame (1994), Glory and Misery (1994), The Thing (2000), and We All Want a Photograph (2000). In Dec. 2002 his play The Prisoner was performed in Danish, in Denmark by the Betty Nansen Theatre Troupe, and directed by the Allan Lydyard. Mr. El Ramly is credited with 23 published long plays in addition to 11 short plays published in magazines.

A number of Mr. El Ramly's plays have been translated into many different languages.  In Plain Arabic and A Point of View were translated into English.  The Prisoner, The Nightmare, and The Shame were translated into French.  Saadoun the Mad Man has been translated into Hebrew.  And The Prisoner has also been translated into Danish.

Mr. El Ramly has also published a number of articles in Egyptian newspapers and magazines. Two of them have been collected and published into books (Hasawy's Tales and Brain Scratching.)

Mr. El Ramly traveled to the United States in November 1999 to overlook the filming of his play Hello America! which discusses the relationship between Egypt and the United States. He then flew to the United States again in September 2000 as part of an International Visitors Program. During this time he was acquainted with the operations  of small theatres in 5 different states.

In April 2005 Mr. El Ramly will travel to Greece for a performance of A Peace of Women, his adaptation of Aristophanes'  Lysistrata, which he has also directed. This will make A Peace of Women the first Arab play to be performed in Greece.

In April 2005 Mr. El Ramly will be participating in the international conference of comparative Comedy ("Cultural Varieties in Arabic and Western Theatre"), which is to take place in Morocco under the joint auspices of Abdelmalek Essaadi University (Morocco) and the University of Amsterdam.

Lenin El Ramly's name is included in the National Encyclopedia (1992,) which includes entries on distinguished Egyptian figures in the field of literature. The Dictionary of Egyptian Theatre has described Lenin El Ramly as a famous contemporary comic writer with a rich quantity of productions. The contents of his plays deal with social matters in a sarcastic manner, and often with touches of irony.