Theatre Festival & Forum Exploring the Middle East
Think you know the Middle East? Think again! ReOrient 2015 will turn San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. Nowhere else will you find plays and artists from Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the U.S. all on one stage.
With plays, talkbacks, panels, roundtable conversations, a family show, and a recital for Arabic music lovers, ReOrient 2015 is an artistic celebration and political exploration of this transforming region for curious and engaged theatre lovers and those passionate about international themes.
“Humanity is at the core of ReOrient. If theater is community, it starts here. […] Your heart will thump, and you’ll laugh, maybe even shed a tear or two. If the goal of theater is to expand our viewpoint, to enrich our knowledge, and to embrace empathy, then ReOrient hugely succeeds.” —Stark Insider (read full review)
“Judging by the new short plays comprising its 2015 ReOrient Festival, Golden Thread is clearly fulfilling its mission to offer compelling stories representing the complexity and diversity of the contemporary Middle Eastern experience. Vivid, human characters came to life in all premieres.” —San Francisco Examiner (read full review)
ReOrient Passes give you access to multiple events at the best prices. Find out more!
PRESENTED IN TWO SERIES IN REPERTORY.
The following four short plays perform Thursdays & Saturdays at 8pm
Picking Up the Scent World Premiere
by Yussef El Guindi, directed by Evren Odcikin
Hisham, an archeologist, discovers an ancient perfume bottle in a war zone. As he digs deeper, his poet wife Nisrin questions if it’s worth risking his life for history.
Turning Tricks U.S. Premiere
by Silva Semerciyan, directed by Erin Gilley
Slavery is hidden in plain sight in the wealthy London of the not-so-distant future. But the players are not who you would expect. (Contains mature content)
Bitterenders World Premiere
by Hannah Khalil, directed by Manijeh Mohamedi
Maha’s Palestinian family shares their East Jerusalem apartment with an Israeli family, until a surprising letter changes everything—or does it?
Counting in Sha’ab World Premiere
by Emma Goldman-Sherman, directed by Erin Gilley
Life goes on for Mr. Hattab and a colorful cast of characters from his bustling Baghdad neighborhood despite a bomb going off in front of his grocery store.
The following five short plays perform Fridays at 8pm & Sundays at 3pm
Lost Kingdom U.S. Premiere
by Hassan Abdulrazzak, directed by Michael French
When a Lebanese-American FBI agent is called in to interrogate a fallen dictator, a twisted tango ensues that complicates black and white notions of good and evil.
Reaching Out World Premiere
Inspired by Golden Thread’s global theatre collaboration, Project Alo?
conceived and co-directed by Torange Yeghiazarian,
edited and co-directed by Erin Gilley
See what happens when pairs of artists, one based in the US and one in the Middle East, are asked to communicate through video clips captured entirely on cell-phones.
Ceasefire West Coast Premiere
by Ken Kaissar, directed by Evren Odcikin
Can a ceasefire allow Israeli and Lebanese soldiers patrolling the border to see each other as something other than enemy?
Songs of Our Childhood World Premiere
by Nahal Navidar, directed by Sara Razavi
Childhood friends, Mira and Sanaz, work as triage nurses during the Iran-Iraq War. But it’s their ideological battles that threaten the peace inside the hospital.
The House West Coast Premiere
by Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour, directed by Sara Razavi
Kamal, a Palestinian-American scientist, and his philosopher daughter Alia put on a play and take an imaginary trip to his childhood home.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
This year’s Forum features UC Davis Professor Sunaina Maira as Keynote Speaker, and presents panels on ideas of home and language for Palestinian artists around the world (organized by Theatre Without Borders), the intersection of sexual identity with Middle Eastern performance (organized by Shape-Shift Arts & Saboteur Productions), a multigenerational perspective of Iranian-American theatre (organized by Diaspora Arts Connection), and a panel on the future of Bay Area’s culturally-specific theatre companies (organized by Theatre Bay Area), amongst others.
Sat, Oct 3 & Sun, Oct 4 at Z Space (450 Florida Street, San Francisco)
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Visit the ReOrient Forum 2015 page for more info and to register.
ReOrient 2015 features two additional performances for families and music lovers as part of the ReOrient Forum weekend.
ReOrient in the Press
ReOrienting a Middle Eastern Perspective
ReOrient 2015 is a San Francisco Chronicle Weekend Pick
ReOrient Festival Brings Stories of the Middle East to the Bay Area
Radio interview with Yussef El Guindi, Sara Razavi, and Torange Yeghiazarian on KQED Forum
Golden Thread’s ReOrient weaves together Middle Eastern Stories
Interview with Evren Odcikin on KQED Arts
Play festival offers different looks at ‘situation’ in Israel
J Weekly interviews Ken Kaissar, Tala Manassah, and Torange Yeghiazarian
Art-Waves on Cover to Cover
Radio interview with Torange Yeghiazarian on KPFA
Mill Valley’s Denmo Ibrahim finds passions beyond the theater
Marin Independent Journal interviews Denmo Ibrahim
Voices of the Middle East and North Africa
Radio interview with Torange Yeghiazarian on KPFA
“Expect the unexpected.”
ReOrient 2015 is a pick for The Do List on KQED
ReOrient Festival and Forum takes place at Z Below (470 Florida Street, SF) and Z Space (450 Florida Street, SF) in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. All festival venues are wheelchair accessible.
If you’re driving, please note that there is only street-parking available near the theater and that can be often difficult to find in this neighborhood on the weekends. Please allow yourself plenty of time to comfortably find a spot.
BART… and you’re there
Accessible from bus lines 27, 9, 21, 33, 49 & 14.
The area is filled with great restaurants for all tastes and budget levels. Here are a few we’ve selected for you within walking distance of the theaters.
Coffee Bar (1890 Bryant Street, SF) Right across the street from the theater complex, Coffee Bar is great for a quick bite and delicious coffee. Some great baked goods, too.
Evergreen Garden Restaurant (3100 18th Street, SF) Pho, spring rolls & rice dishes are among the Vietnamese specialties offered in a casual setting. Very affordable.
Universal Café (2814 19th Street, SF) Informal New American spot great for brunch and dinner with its seasonal menu that changes every day.
Blowfish Sushi (2170 Bryant Street, SF) An eclectic sushi bar and restaurant that serves both modern and traditional sushi, and Asian-fusion dishes. Great sake and cocktail selection. Fun atmosphere, including anime playing on screens and ambient music.
Southern Pacific Brewing Company (620 Treat Street, SF) Housed in a ten thousand square foot warehouse, the restaurant/brewery serves delicious bar fare. Clean, dry, true-to-style Southern Pacific beers, unique guest brews, and specialty cocktails round out their menu.
Rhea’s Cafe (2200 Bryant Street, SF) Creative sandwiches with Asian influences plus beer & wine served in airy, dinerlike digs.
Central Kitchen (3000 20th Street, SF) Great choice if you’re looking for a nicer restaurant nearby. Californian fare made with local ingredients & modern techniques in a lively setting with a patio.
Flour + Water (2401 Harrison Street, SF) This high-end restaurant showcases a menu influenced by regional traditions throughout Italy with Northern Californian inspirations. Reservations are recommended.
Atlas Café (3049 20th Street, SF) Atlas Café serves great coffee and handcrafted organic food items in a casual and comfortable atmosphere. Fantastic vegetarian and vegan options, and a solid beer selection. It fills up quickly, but do check out the outdoor patio.
The Sir Francis Drake Hotel is conveniently located 2.5 miles from the location of Festival and Forum, and is approximately 15 minutes away by car or bus. Our group discount expired on September 18, but the hotel still has rooms available.
Make Your Reservation Today! Click Here For those attending The Forum we suggest arrival on Friday, October 2 and departure on Monday, October 5.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-227-5480
Michael French (Director, LOST KINGDOM) has been an actor, director, and writer for over 20 years. He studied acting at The Drama School in England and The Acting Studio in New York City, and the art of directing under the auspices of renowned teacher and director Marjorie Ballentine. He has directed many of his own plays, including the award winning THE RAINY SEASON and the much acclaimed BELLYACHE. In 2004, he co-wrote and co-produced THE BUDDHA PRINCE, a play about the life of the Dali Lama. THE BUDDHA PRINCE has toured the US extensively, and was performed in Central Park in NYC in 2005 and 2008. Michael is currently the founder and artistic director for Aluminous, a multimedia theatre company based in Oakland, and a resident director for PlayGround. His next production for Aluminous will be a re-imagining of Edward Albee’s ZOO STORY in November 2015 at Flight Deck in Oakland.
Erin Gilley (Director, COUNTING IN AL SHA’AB and TURNING TRICKS) is currently the Artistic Director of Elastic Future and was previously the Artistic Producer of Magic Theatre. Most recently, she directed the digital theatre productions LONGITUDE and PEEK A BOO for London International Festival Theatre. Other directing credits include: THE TECHNOLOGY CAVE in Taylor Mac’s THE LILY’S REVENGE (Magic Theatre); THE UNAUTHORIZED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KIM DEAL and BEAUTIFUL (Elastic Future), WRECKAGE by Caridad Svich (Crowded Fire); EQUUS by Peter Shaffer (Boxcar Theatre); THE WOODS by David Mamet (Theatre in the Woods); CRIMINAL GENIUS by George Walker and MAKING NOISE QUIETLY by Robert Holman (TheatreFirst). Assistant directing credits include KHANDAN (Royal Court Theatre/Birmingham Rep); THE LIFE OF GALILEO (Royal Shakespeare Company/Birmingham Rep); 12 ANGRY MEN (Bill Kenwright at the Garrick Theatre/Birmingham Rep). Next up, Erin is directing the immersive theatre production THE SPEAKEASY at a secret location in San Francisco. Erin studied theatre as an undergraduate at Princeton University and holds an MFA from Birkbeck, University of London. eringilley.com
Manijeh Mohamedi (Director, BITTERENDERS) is an award-winning theatre director and educator with over forty years of experience. She has directed over 100 plays in Iran and the U.S., introducing the works of distinguished Iranian writers to American audiences, and the work of American and European writers to Iranian audiences. Highlights include stage adaptation of Simin Daneshvar’s beloved novel, SOVASHONE, winner of numerous awards at the Fajr International Theatre Festival; translation and staging of plays by Arthur Miller, Dario Fo, and David Ives; and directing the works of major Iranian playwrights such as Gholamhossein Sa’edi. A faculty member of the Azad University in Tehran for the past 19 years, Mohamedi is a registered drama therapist and received her Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. Manijeh is delighted to be back at ReOrient after directing in its inaugural production in 1999.
Sara Razavi (Director, THE HOUSE and SONGS OF OUR CHILDHOOD) first collaborated with Golden Thread as a performer in ReOrient 2007. She joined the team again in 2009, notably as the Monologist in THE MONOLOGIST SUFFERS HER MONOLOGUE by Yussef El Guindi. In 2012, she returned to ReOrient, but this time as director for Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour’s THE LETTER and Farzam Farrokhi’s 2012. In addition to Golden Thread, some of Razavi’s favorite collaborations include various productions with elastic future, Maryam Rostami’s PERSEPOLIS, TEXAS for CounterPULSE, and Denmo Ibrahim’s BABA for Alter Theatre (winner for Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for “Best Original Script” and nominee for “Best Solo Performance”). Sara graduated from UC Davis with a degree in sociology and theatre studies, which included a year-long theatre focus at University of Birmingham in England. In 2013, she completed her MBA and is presently the COO of Working Solutions, a microlender which provides capital and consultation to local entrepreneurs. Razavi has been a proud member of the Golden Thread Board of Trustees since 2010.
Evren Odcikin (Director of Marketing and New Plays) is a Turkish-American director based in San Francisco and the Director New Plays & Marketing for Golden Thread Productions since 2015 where he has been an artistic associate since 2005. For Golden Thread, he directed the premieres of Yussef El Guindi’s LANGUAGE ROOMS, in San Francisco and Los Angeles Theater Center (critic’s pick for LOS ANGELES TIMES), Mona Mansour’s URGE FOR GOING, Denmo Ibrahim’s ECSTASY | A WATERFABLE, as well as short plays by El Guindi, E.H. Benedict, Ken Kaissar, Ignacio Zulueta as part of ReOrient Festivals. For the company, he leads all new play development activities, including the annual new play reading series New Threads, assists in season selection, and helps produce the mainstage season including the biennial ReOrient Festival. His other credits include the world premiere of Christopher Chen’s MUTT: LET’S ALL TALK ABOUT RACE at Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus (“Top New Play of 2014”, Theater Dogs); the world premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s 410[GONE] (Production Notebook feature in AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE) and the West Coast premiere of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s INVASION! for Crowded Fire; his adaptation of Plautus’s THE BRAGGART SOLDIER, OR MAJOR BLOWHARD for Custom Made Theatre Company (Theatre Bay Area Awards Recommended Production, four Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle (BATCC) nominations including best director); THE OLDEST PROFESSION (two BATCC nominations) and MACHINAL (three BATCC Award nominations including best director and best production) for Brava Theater Center. A graduate of Princeton University, Evren was awarded the 2015 National Director’s Fellowship by O’Neill Theater Center, National New Plays Network, the Kennedy Center, and SDCF; the 2013 TITAN Award for Directors by Theatre Bay Area; and selected as an Emerging Theatre Leader by TCG for their American Express Leadership Bootcamp. odcikin.com
is of Iraqi origin, born in Prague and living in London. He trained as a cell and molecular biologist and worked at Imperial College and Harvard University. His first play, Baghdad Wedding, premiered at Soho Theatre, London (2007). Other productions were at the Belvoir Theatre, Sydney (2009) and by Akvarious productions in India (2012). It was also broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It will have a staged reading by Golden Thread Theatre in the USA later in 2014. His second play, The Prophet was staged at the Gate theatre, London and had a reading by Noor theatre in NYC (2012). He has written several short plays including The Tale of Sindbad and the Old Goat that was part of the multi-author play Arab Nights (produced by Metta theatre), which premiered at Soho Theatre (2012) then toured the UK and You Don’t Have To Be American To Get Laid But It Helps, part of Waiting for Summer, produced and directed by Swivel Theatre Company (2014). He has also written two full-length screenplays and translated several plays for the Royal Court theatre (Arabic to English)
Yussef’s most recent productions include The Ramayana (co-adaptor) at ACT; and Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World (winner of the Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2012; Gregory Award in 2011) also at ACT, and at Center Repertory Company (Walnut Creek, CA) 2013; and Language Rooms (Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), co-produced by Golden Thread Productions and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco; at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (premiere), and at the Los Angeles Theater Center. His play Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat was produced by Silk Road Theater Project and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. It’s included in the anthology Four Arab American Plays, published by McFarland Books. His plays Back of the Throat, as well as Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda’s and Karima’s CityPilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New Word was published in the September, 2012 issue of American Theatre Magazine, and will soon be published by Dramatists Play Service, along with his play, Jihad Jones and The Kalashnikov Babes.
Emma Goldman Sherman
plays include Wombshot, Perfect Women, Antigone’s Sister, and Abraham’s Daughters. Her work has been produced in New York City, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Los Angeles, London, and Zagreb by Manhattan Theatre Source, Theatre Conspiracy, Circle Rep Lab, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Women’s Project & Productions and All Out Arts Inc. Her plays have been developed at WordBridge, The Drama League, The Millay Colony for the Arts, The Ragdale Foundation. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa where she received The Richard Maibaum Award for Plays Addressing Social Justice. Her play Why Birds Fly was a finalist at The Cutting Ball Theatre for their 2014 Risk Is This Festival. She is grateful to be included in The ReOrient Festival.
was born in Ramat Gan, Israel and grew up in Indianapolis, IN. His adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales was commissioned by Columbia University in 2008. His play The Victims or What Do You Want Me to Do About (an absurdist take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) was a runner-up for the 2009 Princess Grace Award and was honored by Golden Thread Productions, Silk Road Rising, and the Lark Play Development Center as part of the Middle East America Play Commission. His play Chai was a finalist in the Oxford Theatre’s National Ten Minute Play Contest. His work has been developed by the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Fusion Theatre Company, and Mildred’s Umbrella. He holds a BFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. He teaches playwriting and theatre history at Rider University and Stockton College.
An award-wining Palestinian-Irish writer, Hannah’s first short play, Ring, was selected for Soho Theatre London’s Westminster Prize and her first full- length piece, Leaving Home, was staged at The King’s Head. Further work includes Plan D, which was produced at Tristan Bates Theatre and nominated for the Meyer Whitworth Award. Most recently Hannah’s play Bitterenders won Sandpit Arts’ Bulbul 2013 competition and was staged at The Nightingale in Brighton. Her monologue The Worst Cook in the West Bank was performed as part of an evening of short plays about Arab women in the Arab Spring at the Old Red Lion in London and the Unity Theatre as part of the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival. Hannah also writes for radio, and her new play Last of the Pearl Fishers will be on BBC Radio 4 early next year. In 2015 Plan D will be published as part of Inside/Outside: Six plays from Palestine and the Diaspora edited by Naomi Wallace and Ismail Khalidi.
|Tala Jamal Manassah
Tala Jamal Manassah
is deputy executive director of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, the national leader in school-based social and emotional learning programs. As a playwright, she has co-written, with Mona Mansour, The House, Noor Theater and the American Institute for Architecture; The Letter, Golden Thread/ReOrient Festival; After Cuny/Queens College; and Dressing, part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege. Manassah and Mansour were awarded a residency at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor in 2013 to develop a musical play called The Wife. Most recently, they were given an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan commission to write a play about 1970s Iraq. Manassah received her A.B. (honors) in philosophy and A.M. in the humanities at the University of Chicago.
Mona’s The Way West had its world premiere in spring 2014 at Steppenwolf, directed by Amy Morton. The play received the 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize from Marin Theatre Company, where it will get its West Coast premiere in 2015. The Hour of Feeling (directed by Mark Wing-Davey) premiered at the 2012 Humana Festival, then was part of the High Tide Festival in the U.K. Urge for Going received a LAB production in 2011 at the Public Theater, and had its West Coast premiere at Golden Thread (directed by Evren Odcikin). The Vagrant, the third play in the trilogy, was workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. Mona was a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and is part of New Dramatists. With Tala Manassah she has written The House, After, and The Letter, and Dressing, part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege; they have an EST/Sloan commission to write a play about 1970s Iraq. 2012 Whiting Award. 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award. monamansour.com
|Nahal Navidar About|
is currently a writer on attachment at the UK’s National Theatre. In 2013, she was awarded a BBC Fellowship to be writer on attachment at the Bristol Old Vic where she is under commission to write a new original play. Her plays include The Window (Bristol Old Vic), The Tinderbox (Bristol Old Vic, adapted from the story by Hans Christian Andersen) Gather Ye Rosebuds (Theatre 503) winner, Best New Play, Brighton Fringe Festival, UK; I and the Village, shortlisted for the 2011 Bruntwood Prize; Flashes (Young Vic Theatre, London). Her first radio play, Varanasi, was shortlisted for a BBC audio drama award in 2013. She holds an MPhil (B) in Playwriting from the University of Birmingham, and she lectures in Contemporary Performance for the University of Gloucestershire.