FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS
by Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour
directed by Omar Metwally
Wednesday, August 15 | 7pm
Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th St.
Featuring Erin Anderson, Gamze Ceylan, Christy Escobar, Peter Ganim, Osh Ghanimah, Arash Mokhtar, Alex Salamat, Hadi Tabbal, and Rasha Zamamiri.
Baghdad, 1975. Invited to teach in a city steeped in the history of great scientific discoveries, hotshot physicist Kamal leaves the Ivy League and finds himself in a surreal landscape colored by revolution, intrigue, deception, and of course, great potential. Caught between the desire to contribute to a burgeoning scientific community and a firm commitment to science as a tool of non-violent liberation, he is entangled between the world as it is, and the world as he wishes it to be.
ERIN ANDERSON (Ensemble). NYC/Regional: Hecate in Sleep No More (Punchdrunk); Julius Caesar (Gallery Players); Noor Theatre; Unseen (by Mona Mansour, workshops at The Lark, Old Globe, Rep Theatre of St. Louis); Fires Are Confusing, Teatro de Facto at New York Stage & Film; Williamstown Theatre Festival. L.A. work includes the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, The Actors’ Gang, West Coast premiere of We Are Proud to Present… (Matrix Theatre); TV: “Blacklist Redemption,” “Bull,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Kittens in a Cage,” “Justified,” “Southland.” Film: The Living Worst (upcoming); Days Together. Erin is also a Teaching Artist with Ping Chong & Company and Community-Word Project.
GAMZE CEYLAN (Ensemble). Stage: Field, Awakening (Melis Aker), The Same Day (Stefan Ivanov, LaGuardia), BEE (Sean Michael Welch), There is a Field (Jen Marlowe), LoveRosePepe (Handan Bromley, Target Margin Lab), A Doll’s House-Remix (Epic Theatre), The Wishing Tree (Mustafa Kaymak, Signature), The Butcher (Gwydion Suilebhan, Players), the wall: a story of the land (Noelle Ghoussaini, Brooklyn Lyceum), Lidless (Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig, InterAct), Twelfth Night (Aquila, Lincoln Center), The Director (Barbara Cassidy), Linus & Alora (Andrew Irons, both @ Flea Theater). Film/TV: Ben is Back (dir. Peter Hedges), “Seven Seconds” (Netflix), Blue Reflections, Little Syria, Louder Than Words, David, “Law & Order: SVU,” Funny Valentine. www.gamzeceylan.com
CHRISTY ESCOBAR (Ensemble). New York theater: Scissoring (INTAR), The Hollow (The Brick), Lady Macbeth and Her Lover (Director’s Company), Jesus Hopped the A Train (Atlantic), The Artist of the Beautiful (Metropolitan Playhouse), Hello, Red! (Best Actress nomination, Strawberry Theater Festival). Regional: Bad Jews (Long Wharf), The Great Gatsby (Virginia Stage), Murder on the Nile, Fantastic Mr. Fox (Dorset Theater Festival), Around the World in 80 Days (Berkshire Theatre Group). TV: “Dietland” (AMC), “Blindspot” (NBC). Film: Who We Are Now, The Man in the Woods, Loser Leaves Town, Anomalous, After Everything, Untitled Short Film About White People, The Brick Wall, Viral Beauty, Bright Morning. Winner of 2018 New Dramatists Charles Bowden Award. MFA: NYU, BFA: UC Santa Barbara. christyescobar.com
PETER GANIM (Ensemble). An American actor of Syrian, Lebanese, and Slovak-Hungarian ancestry. Broadway: Oslo. Off-Broadway: Right You Are! (National Actors Theatre), Oslo (LCT). NYC: Medea, Phoenicia Flowers, Ballet Hispánico. Regional: multiple collaborations with directors Nancy Keystone: Hamlet, The Misanthrope, Othello, Three Sisters, A Doll House and Chris Coleman: Man & Superman, Cloud 9, Handler, The Bacchae. FILM: Lapse, Morris County, El Gallo TV: “The Blacklist,” “Madam Secretary,” “Quantico,” “Law & Order.” An award-winning director, he served as Artistic Associate at Actor’s Express, was an early member of the LCT Directors Lab, and is a co-founder of Atlanta’s Théâtre du Rêve.
OSH GHANIMAH (Ensemble). Select stage: The Boy Who Danced On Air (Abingdon Theatre), Made In The USA (Garis & Hahn), Mud (Dramanauts), Hansel & Gretel (ART), The Imaginary Invalid (Moscow Art Theatre). TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Blacklist,” “Happyish,” “Deadbeat,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Film: All We Had, starring and directed by Katie Holmes. Training: BA in Theatre and English Lit., BS in Secondary Ed, Loyola University Chicago; MFA in Acting, Harvard/ART. Osh is the recipient of a Harvard University Presidential Fellowship and served as a Guest Lecturer of Acting at the university’s Office of the Arts. He is a 2015 TEDxBroadway speaker and the Founder/CEO of Broadway For All. oshghanimah.com / IG: @therealnycog
ARASH MOKHTAR (Ensemble). Selected Theater: Off-Broadway: Hamlet, Rosencrantz; Rhinoceros (Berenger); Richard III (Buckingham); Coriolanus (Coriolanus); The Servant of Two Masters (Truffaldino); An Ideal Husband (Lord Goring); Killer Joe (Joe Cooper); Closer (Daniel Woolf); Hurlyburly (Eddie). Selected Regional: The Humans, Pittsburgh Public Theater; Disgraced, Coachella Valley Rep (nom. Best Lead Actor); Sinners, (dir.by Brian Cox), Mirror Rep Theater, VT. Selected TV: “The Blacklist,” “Instinct,” “Madam Secretary,” “Veep,” “Forever,” “Elementary,” “Zero Hour,” “Person of Interest,” “Political Animals,” “NYC 2-2.” Film: Black Site Delta, Chosen (with Cathy Moriarty), Day 39 (Finalist, 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards, 2015), and Best Man in the Dark. www.arashmokhtar.com
ALEXANDER SALAMAT (Ensemble) is an actor and voice actor. He can currently be heard as the voice of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. Recently, he was seen on stage in Alien Nation for the Beta Reading Series at BAM (dir. Giovanna Sardelli). In NYC, he’s had the privilege of working in collaboration with The Public Theater, HEREarts, and Lincoln Center Theater, among others. TV: “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary.” Film: Price for Freedom, Satori. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program.
HADI TABBAL (Kamal). Acting credits include Mona Mansour’s The Vagrant Trilogy (Mosaic Theater, DC), Circumstance (Winner of Sundance Film Audience Award), “Madam Secretary” (CBS), “Elementary” (CBS), “The Blacklist” (NBC), and “Person of Interest” (CBS). He recently starred as Amir on NBC’s “The Brave.” Hadi was playwright in residence at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor program where he developed his first full-length play, The Remnants. He was adjunct assistant professor of theater at CUNY York College and is currently artistic associate for The Sundance Theater Institute. MFA in acting from The New School for Drama. He is a proud past recipient of the Fulbright Grant.
RASHA ZAMAMIRI (Ensemble) is an Arab-American actor, singer, and voice over artist. She just recently came back from Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece where she worked with Syrian refugees on Shakespeare’s The Tempest as part of The Campfire Project with Jessica Hecht and Arin Arbus. Past theatre credits include: The Who & The What (Gulfshore Playhouse), We Live In Cairo (The O’Neill), The Wife (BerkeleyRep), Transit (Chautauqua Theatre Company), Hour Of Feeling (Humana Festival), Aftermath (New York Theatre Workshop & World Tour). TV/Film: “The Looming Tower,” “Instinct,” “#Wargames,” Sayid, “Blindspot,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Blacklist,” ESPN/History’s “The Vikings Another Seer.” Proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
TALA MANASSAH (Playwright) is a national leader in the fields of school-based social and emotional learning, restorative practices, and racial equity. She serves as Deputy Executive Director of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, where she has led the development and rapid expansion of Restore360. Restore360 is implemented in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and is the largest roll-out of school-based restorative practices in the nation’s history, having reached over 8,000 educators and 45,000 young people to date. Presently, she and her team are spending most of their time grappling with the question of how best to support schools in improving their culture by paying special attention to advancing integrationist and anti-racist climates. Through a large Investing in Innovation (i3) grant that was one of 15 selected out a pool of 385 “highly rated” proposals, Manassah and her team are creating and testing a whole school racial equity transformation model in 21 laboratory schools. Manassah served on Mayor De Blasio’s Commission on School Climate and Culture, and on Chancellor Carmen Farina’s advisory council on social and emotional learning. As a playwright, Manassah has co-written, with Mona Mansour, The House, commissioned by NYC’s Noor Theater and the American Institute for Architecture and read as part of their Building A New series in March 2012; The Letter, a short play that premiered in November 2012 in San Francisco as part of Golden Thread’s ReOrient Festival; and After, a full-length play that was produced at Queens College in 2013. Manassah and Mansour were awarded a residency at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor in 2013 to develop a musical play called The Wife. Their play Dressing is part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege, a collection of plays commissioned by the New Black Festival that has presented at various theaters around the U.S., including The Public, the Goodman, Center Theatre Group, and Baltimore Center Stage. Most recently, they were given an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan commission to write Falling Down the Stairs, a play about 1970s Iraq. Manassah holds an AB and AM from the University of Chicago.
MONA MANSOUR’s (Playwright) play We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War, directed by Evren Odcikin, will premiere at SF’s Golden Thread in winter 2018. The Vagrant Trilogy is currently running at Mosaic Theater through July 1. Of the trilogy: The Hour of Feeling (dir. Mark Wing-Davey) premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and a new Arabic translation was presented at NYU Abu Dhabi, as part of its Arab Voices Festival in 2016; Urge for Going received productions at The Public Theater (dir. Hal Brooks) and Golden Thread (dir. Odcikin); The Vagrant was commissioned by The Public and workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. The Way West: Labyrinth (dir. Mimi O’Donnell); Village Theater (dir. Christina Myatt); Steppenwolf (dir. Amy Morton); and Marin Theatre Company (dir. Hayley Finn). Other credits: Unseen, Gift Theater (dir. Maureen Payne-Hahner); and In the Open, for Waterwell, directed by James Dean Palmer. Mona is a member of New Dramatists and was a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group. With Tala Manassah she has written Falling Down the Stairs, an EST/Sloan commission. Their play Dressing is part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays About Trayvon, Race and Privilege, commissioned by the New Black Festival. Commissions include Playwrights Horizons, Old Globe Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “American Revolutions.” 2012 Whiting Award. 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award, monamansour.com
OMAR METWALLY (Director) is an actor and director. He can currently be seen as Vik on Showtime’s The Affair. Recent theater credits include Guards at the Taj (Obie Award; Atlantic Theater); How to Transcend a Happy Marriage (Lincoln Center Theater); As You Like It, The Fever Chart (The Public Theater); Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb); and Beast on the Moon (Century Center). He received Tony and OCC nominations for his work in Sixteen Wounded on Broadway. Regional credits include American Hero (Williamstown Theatre Festival), as well as work with The Long Wharf Theatre, The American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Campo Santo and others. Film credits include Rendition (Chopard Trophy, Cannes Film Festival), Non-Stop, Munich, Miral, Complete Unknown, and the forthcoming Breakable You, among others. Other TV credits include Mr. Robot, The Slap, Dig, Fringe, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, Virtuality and Harry’s Law. He received an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.