SCRAPS AND THINGS by Melis Aker
THE HALAL DATE by Younis Ali
McARABIA by Sevan K. Greene
BABA KARAM by Sanaz Toossi
plus an excerpt from an untitled new work by Heather Raffo
directed by Sivan Battat and Tracy Cameron Francis
Monday, August 13 | 7pm
Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th St.
Featuring Justin Ahdoot, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Dahlia Azama, Ayse Babahan, Leila Buck, Gamze Ceylan, Kimiye Corwin, Amr El-Bayoumi, Peter Falls, and Nicole Shalhoub.
Readings of four commissioned one-acts and a short play by Heather Raffo.
JUSTIN AHDOOT (Stage Directions, Hassan and Ben). NYC: Off-Broadway: Sleep No More (Punch Drunk). Off-Off Broadway: Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom and The Mysteries (The Flea Theater), Cymbeline (Richmond Shakespeare), performed his solo show Justin versus at Richmond Triangle Players, and Uncle Tom: Deconstructed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Upcoming TV: “The Good Cop,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Americans,” “Blue Bloods.” He also appeared in a short film Army of God (Hayden 5 Productions). BFA: Virginia Commonwealth University. www.justinahdoot.com
FAJER AL-KAISI (Issam and Playwright). Thrilled to be involved with this important work. Previous credits include Bashir in The Invisible Hand at TheatreWorks Hartford and at Westport Country Playhouse, Richard in The Humans at St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Amir in Disgraced at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and in the international China tour. Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Tantrum Theatre Ohio, Ibrahim in Paloma at the Kitchen Theatre, Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Tariq in Tennis in Nablus at Stageworks Hudson, Shahid in Aftermath at NYTW. Film credits include appearances as the interpreter in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ang Lee and as Kareem in I’ll Come Running by Spencer Parsons. TV credits include “Law and Order,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Blood and Treasure,” “30 Rock,” “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary,” “Unforgettable,” “Deadbeat,” “Search Party,” Netflix’s “Daredevil,” “The Good Wife,” and “Blacklist.” Fajer is also an accomplished audiobook narrator and has over 100 titles on audible.com. You can find him on social media at @dearfajer
DAHLIA AZAMA (Samah and Suad). New York: Off-Broadway: Veil’d (Dima) at WP Theater; I Call My Brothers (Valeria/Tyra) at The Play Company. Regional: The Shakespeare Theater Company: Noura (Maryam). International: AUC (Egypt), The School for Wives, Three Sisters, Taming of the Shrew. Film/TV: #WarGames (Nesreen). Training: The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London), MA Acting; The American University in Cairo (Egypt), BA Theater. Awards (Egypt): Winner of the Ahmed Zewail Prize for Excellence in the Sciences and Humanities.
AYSE BABAHAN (Cemre). A Turkish-American actress. Theater: Field, Awakening by Melis Aker (Signature Theatre / Corkscrew Theater Festival), Wormholes for Sale at the Corner Bodega (Imagine: Yemen, Signature Theatre), BEE (HB Studio), The House of Bernarda Alba and Fefu and Her Friends (Stella Adler). Upcoming: The Whale and The Seagull (Harold Clurman Lab Company). She has trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and is a member of The Flea Theatre’s resident acting company. www.aysebabahan.com
LEILA BUCK (Stage Directions, Bala and Leila). An Arab-American playwright, actor, and EDI/intercultural facilitator. She has performed and developed her work at the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Culture Project, Cal Shakes, Cleveland Public Theatre, BRIC Arts, Mosaic Theater at Arena Stage, and the Wilma Theater (Barrymore Award). Press/publication: American Theatre; TCG’s Finding Home; Lark’s Stages of Resistance; Innovation in Five Acts; Etching Our Own Image: Voices from the Arab American Art Movement; Four Arab-American Plays. Alumna, Emerging Writers Group, Public Theater; Usual Suspect, New York Theatre Workshop. Adjunct professor, Participatory Performance and Civic Engagement/Middle East on Stage, NYU. www.leilabuck.com
GAMZE CEYLAN (Sibel and Wafa). 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
KIMIYE CORWIN (Joan, Stage Directions and Erik). After dancing professionally with the Jose Limon Dance Company, Kimiye expanded her career into acting. She has performed here in NYC (Red Bull Theater, La MaMa, Ars Nova, Ripe Time) and regionally (Syracuse Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Studio Theatre, Hartford Stage, TheatreWorks Palo Alto, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Guthrie, McCarter). Film/TV credits: “One Life to Live,” “Blacklist,” “The Family,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” Five Dances (film directed by Alan Brown). Choreography/Movement Consulting credits: Dallas Theater Center, Guthrie, OSF, Stella Adler/NYU. Training: Juilliard (BFA in Dance), Brown/Trinity (MFA in Acting).
AMR EL-BAYOUMI (Sheik Ahmed and Ad). An Egyptian-American actor and voice-over artist based in New York City. He has performed in several award-winning short films, feature films, theater and network television productions in the US, England, and Egypt. Most recently he appeared on “House of Cards,” “Mr. Robot,” “The Blacklist,” “Madam Secretary,” “Quantico” and “Person of Interest.”
PETER FALLS (Stage Directions, Steven and Adolfon/Ted) is an actor and writer from the San Fernando Valley. Although he received his BA in English from Kenyon College in 2014, he participated extensively in the (beloved and prestigious) drama department that led him to pursue theater in New York (where he is currently based). Falls can be seen appearing on all of the four television networks if one were to look hard enough, as well as some of the more bizarre and burgeoning theater in NYC’s Off-Off Broadway scene.
NICOLE SHALHOUB (Laila, Rasha and Najla). Broadway China Doll with Al Pacino. Off-Broadway: Intractable Woman (The Play Company), The Clean House (Lincoln Center), The Fifth Column (The Mint), Hell House (St. Ann’s Warehouse). Regional: Failure: A Love Story (CTG, Kirk Douglas); American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose (Yale Rep); Arabian Nights (Berkeley Rep); Mirror of the Invisible World (The Goodman); Five Mile Lake (South Coast Rep); Snow in June, A Lie of the Mind and Six Characters in Search of an Author (American Repertory Theater); Lookingglass (Hartford Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Kansas City Rep.). TV/Film: “Elementary,” “Seal Team,” “Bull,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Gaffigan Show,” “New Girl,” “The Mentalist,” “Legends,” “Scandal,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order: CI,” “The International,” “Sex and the City,” “Hollywood,” Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks, Wetware. MFA: Harvard/MXAT. BA: Columbia University.
MELIS AKER (Playwright) is a writer, actor and musician from Turkey, and will be a NYTW 2050 Playwriting Fellow in the fall. Plays: Field, Awakening (2018 Sundance Theatre Lab final-round, 2018 Berkeley Rep Ground Floor final-round, Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship finalist) performed at the Signature Theatre’s New Plays Festival, Golden Thread Productions’ New Threads reading series, and the Corkscrew Festival at Paradise Factory; Manar (2017 Columbia@Roundabout finalist, 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award semi-finalist) was at Golden Thread Productions’ ReOrient Festival, LPAC’s Rough Draft Festival, and was featured by Silk Road Rising on New Play Exchange; 330 Pegasus: A Love Letter [Part I] (Lark’s 2018 Jerome New York Fellowship finalist) received a Noor Highlight series reading; Azul, Otra Vez [Blue, Revisited] was workshopped at NYTW and BRICLab. Acting (selected): “The Blacklist: Redemption” (NBC), “SENECA” (feature film) by Armando Riesco and Jason Chaet, Love in Afghanistan (Arena Stage & Roundabout), Daybreak (Pan Asian Rep), Opium (New Dramatists), House of Joy (Atlantic), Tear A Root From the Earth (Kennedy Center & New Ohio), We Live in Cairo (New World Stages). Melis recently gave a TEDx Talk in Ankara, and works as Ayad Akhtar’s assistant. Training/Rep: MFA Playwriting (Columbia), Acting (RADA), BA Drama & Philosophy (Tufts). Meg Pantera Agency (acting) | www.melisaker.com
YOUNIS ALI (Playwright) is a Yemeni American poet and playwright. He’s been writing both in Yemen and the U.S the last ten years. His work includes Saah Alhida, an Arabic comedy performed in Yemen in 2013 and Center Aisle, winner of Brooklyn College’s Ottilie Grebanier Drama Award.
SEVAN K. GREENE (Playwright) is an award-winning NYC and London-based writer and actor. He has worked in NYC with The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, The New Group, The Culture Project, New York Stage and Film, New York Musical Theatre Festival, and in London with The Bush Theatre, Old Vic Labs, Arcola Theatre, Theatre503, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Tamasha, Rich Mix, The Shubbak Festival. He is an alumni of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writing Group, Rising Circle’s inaugural INKTank Lab, The Bush Theater’s Inaugural Emerging Writers Group. He has been shortlisted and a finalist for the Princess Grace Award, the O’Neill Playwriting Festival, the Saroyan Social Justice/Human Rights Playwriting Award, Papatango Playwriting Prize, William Saroyan Playwriting Prize, PlayPenn New Writing Lab, and the Sundance Theatre Lab. www.sevangreene.com
HEATHER RAFFO (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has been seen off Broadway, Off-West End in regional theater and in film. She is the author and solo performer of the play 9 Parts of Desire (Lucille Lortel award, Susan Smith Blackburn commendation, Drama League, OCC, Helen Hayes nominations), which The New Yorker called “an example of how art can remake the world”. The play was first produced in London’s Off-West End where critics hailed it as one of the five best plays in London. It’s off-Broadway premiere ran for nine sold out months and was a critic’s pick for over twenty -four weeks in a row. Since 2005, 9 Parts of Desire has been produced across the U.S. and was one of the top five most produced plays of the 2007-2008 American theater season. It has had international productions in over a dozen countries with current productions in Greece, Hungary and Sweden. Heather is the librettist for the opera Fallujah, which was developed as part of Kennedy Center’s International Theater Festival, it then received its world premiere at Long Beach Opera in March of 2016 and opened at New York City Opera later that year. A film was made of both the opera as well as a documentary titled Fallujah: Art, Healing and PTSD. Heather’s newest play, Noura, recently won Williamstown’s prestigious Weissberger Award and is on the Kilroy’s List. Noura had its world premiere at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington D.C. before moving to Abu Dhabi in the spring of this year. Its New York premiere will be at Playwrights Horizons in their forthcoming 2018/19 season. Raffo’s work has been developed at the Kennedy Center, McCarter, The Public, Epic Theater Ensemble, Arena Stage, Noor Theater, Vancouver City Opera, The Arab American National Museum and at Georgetown’s Lab for Global Performance and Politics. She currently has commissions from the McCarter Theater and Williamstown and is the recipient of multiple grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to use theater as a means of bridge building between her Eastern and Western cultures. Her work has taken her to The Aspen Ideas Festival, London’s House of Commons, The U.S. Islamic World Forum and into hundreds of classrooms across our nation and internationally.
SANAZ TOOSSI (Playwright) is an Iranian-American playwright from Orange County, CA. Her plays include English and Soraya. She holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sanaz is a proud child of Iranian immigrants and explores the narratives of immigrants-before-they-were-immigrants.
SIVAN BATTAT (Director) is a theatre director and teaching artist focused on new play and musical development and community-based theater. Sivan recently directed Unstoppable, a new rock musical based on and performed by students from Haven Academy in the South Bronx. She is collaborating on several new musicals, including East o’, West o’! by Michelle J. Rodriguez, which Sivan directed the NYC premiere of at Ars Nova’s ANTFest 2017. Sivan has developed work with NYTW, MCC, the Arab-Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa, Studio Theatre, and Mosaic Theatre, among others. Select additional credits include: School Girls (asst: Rebecca Taichman, MCC), On the Shore of the Wide World (asst: Neil Pepe, Atlantic), Animal (asst: GT Upchurch, Atlantic), King Charles III (associate: David Muse, ACT/Seattle Rep/STC). Sivan is a member of the Mizrahi Caucus with Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, organizing political actions and leading workshops in NYC. sivanbattat.com
TRACY CAMERON FRANCIS (Director) is a first-generation Egyptian-American director who has directed and developed work with HERE, Red Bull Theatre, NYTW, Williamstown Theatre Festival, NY Arab American Comedy Festival, Pen World Voices Fest, NY International Fringe Festival, LaMama Culture Hub, Center for Performance Research and Alwan For the Arts. Internationally with Ubumuntu Arts Fest (Rwanda), Falaki Theatre (Egypt), LaMama Umbria (Italy) and regionally with T.B.A. festival, Portland Center Stage, and Boom Arts. TCG 2017 Rising Leader of Color. Member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, core member of Theatre Without Borders and associate member of SDC. BA Middle Eastern Studies and Theatre Arts, Fordham. www.tracyfrancis.com