2012 promises to be an incredible season for Golden Thread, turning San Francisco into a Mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. November brings the ReOrient Festival, featuring 11 fully-produced short plays by playwrights from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, England, and the U.S., and the ReOrient Forum—a weekend of artistic dialogue, presentations, and performance. New Threads, our annual series of new play staged readings, brings works by four important Middle Eastern voices to the Bay Area, including an Iranian masterpiece in translation. And Golden Thread's Fairytale Players continue to bring their fun and educational family shows to schools, libraries, community and cultural centers, and festivals around the Bay Area.

March 8, 8:00pm
What Do the Women Say?
An Annual Celebration of International Women’s Day
at La Peña Cultural Center

Pondering the Solo – This year’s program features Denmo Ibrahim, Jennifer Jajeh, Rohina Malik and Maryam Rostami - four women performers of Middle Eastern background who have written, performed and produced their own show. Profound, rambunctious and illuminating, this new generation of solo women performers tackles themes of displacement, dual loyalties and entitlement to expand definitions of citizenship, activism and womanhood. more information

November 1–25, 2012
ReOrient 2012
Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East
at Noh Space and Joe Goode Studios

Building on the success of our tenth anniversary festival in 2009, ReOrient 2012 will turn San Francisco into a Mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. With 11 fully-produced short plays by playwrights from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, England, and the U.S. presented in two series simultaneously, the latest ReOrient promises to be a one-of-a-kind exploration of this unique region and its theater, stories, and artists. To add to the conversation, Golden Thread will host the ReOrient Forum November 17–18 at Theatre Artaud—a weekend of artistic dialogue, presentations, and performance.


SERIES 1 November 1–25, 2012 at Noh Space

> War and Peace
by Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, directed by Hafiz Karmali
Acclaimed Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim's War and Peace presents Politica, a vivacious woman, who must choose between her domineering husband War and oft-disappointed lover Peace. Funny and subtle, this symbolic short play could keep a senior seminar in a political science department busy for weeks.

> The Birds Flew In
by Yussef el Guindi (world premiere)
The mother of a dead soldier cannot reconcile her conflicted feelings about the Iraqi War. El Guindi, the 2011 winner of the prestigious Middle East America Award, paints a tender and complicated portrait of the ultimate pain of losing a child.

> The Letter
by Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah, directed by Evren Odcikin
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tony Kushner was blocked from receiving an honorary degree from CUNY for his criticism of Israel. Palestinian-American physicist Kamal and his philosopher daughter Alia take their outrage to the stage, but, first, can they really prove that they are human?

> Stalemate
by Silva Semerciyan, directed by Desdemona Chiang (world premiere)
At a hi-fi shop and a disco in London and a war field in Iraq, the inherent racism and sexism of the bravura male culture is brilliantly skewered in this funny and hard-hitting play by the William Saroyan Prize winner Silva Semerciyan.

> In the Days That Follow
by Jen Silverman, directed by Christine Young (world premiere)
In this poignant play by up-and-coming writer Jen Silverman, former Israeli soldier Orh follows Lebanese poet Iman to the United States mesmerized by the haunting beauty of her poetry. Can their mutual love of words heal the personal and political wounds they carry?

> 2012
by Farzam Farrokhi, directed by Sara Razavi (world premiere)
Three strangers on cell phones walk into a café. It might sound like a joke, but this could be the end of the world.
Introducing local playwright Farzam Farrokhi.


SERIES 2 November 8-18 at Joe Goode Studios

> City of Grubs
by Naomi Wallace, directed by Desdemona Chiang (U.S. premiere)
An Arab Jewish immigrant finds a dead man in the seedy hotel he cleans in Camden, NJ, and tells the body of this stranger his deepest secrets. The MacArthur "Genius" Award winner Naomi Wallace returns to the ReOrient Festival for the fourth time with this brilliant monologue.

> Orhan
by Elizabeth Benedict, directed by Evren Odcikin (world premiere)
Young British man Orhan, half Turkish and half black, finds himself incarcerated as a terrorist for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Local writer Elizabeth Benedict explores the deep-rooted complications of being mixed race in a culture that defines everything as us against them.

> Stuck
by Amir al-Azraki, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian (world premiere)
What does it take to get out of Iraq with a Iraqi passport? Iraqi playwright Amir al-Azraqi takes us on the absurd journey of visas, rejections, and searches that most Middle Easterners experience at airports with this tour-de-force play with movement.

> The Voice Room
by Reza Soroor, translated and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian (world premiere)
An Iranian tailor finds himself entangled in a web of political intrigue when he agrees to keep an eye on Qobad, a revolutionary figure. As this taut spy thriller unravels, will he be able to hold onto his skin against all odds?


Golden Thread’s Fairytale Players is an ensemble touring company with a repertoire of educational theater performances based on stories and traditions from the Middle East.  

Inspired by popular performance traditions in the Middle East (Hakawati, Ru hozi, Naghalli, Karagoz) Golden Thread’s Fairytale Players employ epic story-telling, physical theatre and circus arts techniques in creating performances. The ensemble is trained in various theatre disciplines including traditional Middle Eastern performance styles and folk dance, which inform the selection and development of our repertoire. Performances are designed to travel and are booked at schools, libraries, community and cultural centers, and festivals.

Rumi x 7= Tales from the Masnavi
 This visually colorful performance with dynamic story-telling, dance and music is adapted from several folk tales centered around the comedic personage, Nasrudin Hoja or Mulla Nasrudin, a wise fool renowned in Central Asia, Turkey and Iran.

More information

Nasrudin's Magnificent Journey to Samarkand
This unique and visually engaging family production brings to life the dynamic story-telling traditions of Rumi through a lyrical fusion of circus arts and classical Persian poetry performed by an ensemble of actors, acrobats, dancers and musicians.

More information


Contact Golden Thread's Education Coordinator Laine Forman at laine@goldenthread.org to find out how to bring these productions to your community.

Golden Thread's new play reading series returns, introducing four brand new plays from and about the Middle East. Each staged reading is followed by an audience talkback. Join us to support the work of Middle Eastern writers, take part in the creative process of a new play, and to discover brilliant gems before they receive full productions. Dates and venues will be announced shortly.

A Moment of Silence
by Mohammad Yaghoubi, translated and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian

May 16 at 7:00 pm
Joe Goode Annex, 499 Alabama St. #150 (between 17th and Mariposa)

Hailed by many as one of the best Iranian plays written after the 1979 revolution, A Moment of Silence investigates the impact of the revolution through the imagination of a writer who falls victim to the Chain Murders of intellectuals and artists in the 1990s. Widely acknowledged for his layered and imaginative approach to realism, Yaghoubi is an outspoken artist who continues to challenge the governmental systems of control.

Another Man's Son
by Silva Semerciyan
directed by Torange Yeghiazarian

July 18 at 7pm
Joe Goode Annex, 455 Alabama St. #150 (between 17th and Mariposa)

Winner of the prestigious William Saroyan Prize, this deeply moving play follows Lucine, an ambitious young nurse trying to build a career and a life against the expectations of her traditional Armenian family in 1950s Beirut. When she makes a life-altering mistake in love, she must make a dangerous choice between her hard-earned future and the role her tyrannical father envisions.

The Hour of Feeling
by Mona Mansour
directed by Evren Odcikin

In 1967, as political forces redefine the Middle Eastern borders, English Romantic poetry scholar Adham travels to London from his native Palestine to deliver a career-defining lecture with his new wife, Abir. As the pull of family and home weighs heavily on him, can he take this chance to get out? Fresh out of this year's prestigious Humana Festival of New Plays, this beautiful play paints a beautiful picture of love and marriage against a backdrop of political turmoil and hardship.
The Mummy and the Revolution
by Yussef El Guindi
directed by Evren Odcikin

An Egyptian revolutionary, an American collector, and a reanimated mummy—just three of the characters in this comedic gem from the writer that brought Golden Thread audiences Language Rooms, Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, and Back of the Throat. Golden Thread mainstay Yussef El Guindi's unique voice has been nationally recognized with the 2011 Middle East America Award and the 2012 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Circle New Play Award.






Torange Yeghiazarian, Artistic Director
450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 / 415.626.4061 / information@goldenthread.org