Golden Thread’s staged reading series returns, introducing five new plays from and about the Middle East to Bay Area audiences.
This year’s lineup includes two Middle East America Honorable Mention winners Ismail Khalidi and Daria Polatin, a hit from London by Hassan Abdulrazzak, and a work-in-progress presentation of a new work by artistic director Torange Yeghiazarian. And we launch the series with a sneak peek at the short plays selected for the ReOrient 2015 Festival.
Audiences will have an opportunity to ask questions and engage the artists in conversation after each reading. Join us to support the work of Middle Eastern artists, to contribute to the creative process of a new play, and to discover brilliant gems never before seen in the Bay Area.
FREE to the public. Reservations are recommended!
To RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the performance you’d like to attend and the number of tickets you’re requesting.
All readings are presented at the Thick House (1695 18th St, San Francisco).
Monday, September 29, 2014, at 7pm
Directed by Evren Odcikin
Get a sneak peek at the plays under consideration for ReOrient 2015, Golden Thread’s celebrated festival of short plays from and about the Middle East.
Monday, October 6, 2014, at 7pm
The Luxor Express
Daria Polatin’s plays include In Tandem, Guidance, That First Fall, D.C., A Fair Affair, and The Luxor Express, inspired by her father’s life growing up in Egypt. Works produced at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and in London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. She also penned a commissioned short play for Noor Theater, a company supporting writers of Middle Eastern descent. Daria wrote and directed the short film “Till It Gets Weird,” which premiered at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. She completed a residency with London’s Royal Court Theatre, is an alumna of Youngblood, and a founding member of The Kilroys. M.F.A. Columbia University. Daria lives in Los Angeles and currently works on the upcoming Starz TV series, “Flesh and Bone.” www.dariapolatin.com
directed by Sara Razavi
As a last-ditch effort to reconnect with her estranged Egyptian-Armenian father, Samara agrees to take a vacation with him in his homeland. She finds herself on the legendary Luxor Express, a train that will take her through the Egyptian countryside and her family’s secret past. Middle East America Honorable Mention winner Polatin paints an intimate portrait of a fractured family that careens through time and countries.
Monday, October 13, 2014, at 7pm
is the Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, where she launched such visionary programs as ReOrient Festival & Forum, Middle East America (in partnership with the Lark and Silkroad Rising), Islam 101 (with Hafiz Karmali), New Threads, and the Fairytale Players. Torange’s plays include ISFAHAN BLUES, 444 DAYS, THE FIFTH STRING: ZIRYAB’S PASSAGE TO CORDOBA, and CALL ME MEHDI. She is currently under commission by Philip Kan Gotanda to adapt his seminal play, THE WASH to an Armenian setting. Awards include the Gerbode-Hewlett Playwright Commission Award (ISFAHAN BLUES) and a commission by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (THE FIFTH STRING). Her short play CALL ME MEHDI is published in the anthology “Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG 2009. Torange adapted the poem, I SELL SOULS by Simin Behbehani to the stage, and directed the premieres of SCENIC ROUTES by Yussef El Guindi, THE MYTH OF CREATION by Sadegh Hedayat, TAMAM by Betty Shamieh, STUCK by Amir Al-Azraki and VOICE ROOM by Reza Soroor, amongst others. Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review (2012), American Theatre Magazine (2010), and Theatre Bay Area Magazine (2010), and HowlRound. Torange has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University.
featuring music composed by Marcus Shelby
directed by Laura Hope, dramaturgy by Nakissa Etemad
a coproduction with the African American Shakespeare Company
Inspired by Duke Ellington Orchestra’s 1963 tour to Iran, Isfahan Blues imagines an unlikely friendship between an American jazz musician and an Iranian actress. As they travel together to Isfahan, “the most beautiful city in the world,” Jazz inspires them to test the limits of freedom, creativity, and experimentation. Featuring AASC Artistic Director L. Peter Callender and Golden Thread Artistic Associate Vida Ghahremani.
Monday, October 20, 2014, at 7pm
Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents and raised in Chicago, Ismail Khalidi is a playwright and poet. He holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is the author of the award-winning play Tennis in Nablus. His plays have been produced and read at theaters and universities around the country and abroad, including Atlanta’s Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre (Tennis in Nablus, 2010). Khalidi’s other plays include Truth Serum Blues, which was commissioned and produced by Pangea World Theater (2005), Final Status, and most recently, Sabra Falling. Khalidi’s writing on politics and culture has appeared in The Nation, The Daily Beast, American Theatre Magazine, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. His poetry and plays have been published by Mizna, where he was recently a writer-in-residence. Khalidi is currently co-editing an anthology of Palestinian plays due out in 2014 from TCG.
directed by Octavio Solis
It is August 1982 and Beirut is under siege. An Israeli soldier falls through the ceiling of a Palestinian family’s home in the Sabra refugee camp. Or is he a long-awaited visitor from the family’s past? The narratives of friend and foe are beautifully complicated in this surprisingly funny and deeply moving play from Middle East America Honorable Mention winner Ismail Khalidi.
Monday, October 27, 2014, at 7pm
is of Iraqi origin, born in Prague (1973) and living in London. His first play Baghdad Wedding (staged in 2007 at Soho Theatre, London, and in 2009 at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney) was also broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Hassan was awarded the 2008 George Devine and Meyer-Whitworth awards and the 2009 Pearson award. His translation of the Palestinian play 603 by Imad Farajin for the Royal Court Theatre is published by Nick Hern Books in PLAYS FROM THE ARAB WORLD. He has been published in The Edinburgh Review, Banipal, Niqash, Snakeskin and The Guardian. Hassan has also written two screenplays: Baghdad Wedding (produced by Focus Features) and The Widow (produced by NDF International). He works full time as a cell and molecular biologist at Imperial College. http://abdulrazzak.weebly.com
directed by Torange Yeghiazarian
From cosmopolitan London to the chaos of war-ravaged Baghdad, this is the comic tale of three friends, torn between two worlds and a wedding that goes horribly wrong. Baghdad Wedding was a run-away hit in London’s Soho Theatre and Golden Thread is excited to introduce this vibrant new play to American audiences.