ReOrient 2012 Theatre Festival and Forum at Golden Thread in San Francisco—Saturday 17 November & Sunday 18 November 2012
Building on the success of Golden Thread's tenth anniversary festival in 2009, ReOrient 2012 turned San Francisco into a Mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. Featuring plays by Naomi Wallace, E.H. Benedict, Amir al-Azraki, and Reza Soroor, the latest ReOrient was a one-of-a-kind exploration of this unique region and its theater, stories, and artists.
ReOrient 2012 Forum
This year's Forum featured provocative panel discussions on topics such as "The Arab Spring and Its Dramatic Reverberations," "Engaged Performance: Building Dialogue Through Artistic Exchange," "From 'War on Drugs' to 'War on Terror': Parallels in Latino/Chicano and Middle Eastern American Performance," and "Comedic Counter Terrorism." Acclaimed author and distinguished scholar of Middle Eastern studies and comparative literature, Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University kicked off the Forum with a keynote address.
SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER
Keynote Address by Hamid Dabashi
Hamid Dabashi, professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University, discussed the current state of the arts, identity, alterity, and representation in the current climate of change and upheaval.
9:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m. PST / 12:45 p.m.-1:30 p.m. EST / 17:45-18:30 GMT.
The Arab Spring and Its Dramatic Reverberations Chairs: JJ El-Far & Tracy Cameron Francis, Hybrid Theater Works. Panelists: Jay Abdo (actor, Syria), Nasreddine Ben Maati (Tunisia, via Skype), Hadia Mousa (visiting scholar at NYU, Egypt), and Naghmeh Samini (playwright and critic, Iran).
Sponsored by Hybrid Theatre Works.
10:40 a.m.-12 p.m. PST / 1:40 p.m.-3 p.m. EST / 18:40-20:00 GMT.
Staging the Middle East Chair: Brad Erikson, Theatre Bay Area. Panelists: Michael Butler (Center Rep), Carey Perloff (American Conservatory Theater), Sean San Jose (Campo Santo/Intersection), and Marissa Wolf (Crowded Fire).
Sponsored by Theatre Bay Area.
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. PST / 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. EST / 21:00-22:30 GMT
Comedic Counter Terrorism Chair: Joan Holden, playwright. Panelists: Yussef El Guindi (playwright), Sara Felder (theater artist/humorist/juggler), and Zahra Noorbakhsh (comedian).
5:10 p.m.–6:20 p.m. PST / 8:10 p.m.-9:20 p.m. EST / (01:10-02:30 GMT on Sunday, November 18).
An Evening of Four Short Plays about the Middle East On air at 8 p.m. PST / 11 p.m. EST / (04:00 GMT on Sunday, Nov 18).
City of Grubs, U.S. premiere by Naomi Wallace, directed by Desdemona Chiang 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, World Premiere by E.H. Benedict, directed by Evren Odcikin 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, World Premiere by Amir al-Azraki, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian 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, World Premiere by Reza Soroor, translated and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian A novice secret agent is eager to prove himself when he is assigned to spy on an underground rebel guerilla team led by Qobad, a high-valued prisoner. As this taut spy thriller unravels, will he be able to hold onto his skin against all odds?
SUNDAY 18 NOVEMBER
Rapid Response: Protecting Artists Under Threat Chair: Roberto Varea, Performing Arts and Social Justice Program at University of San Francisco & Theatre Without Borders. Panelists: Sidd Joag (freeDimensional), Nazy Kaviani (writer and artist advocate), Jessica Litwak (Theater Without Borders), and William Butkus (Amnesty International).
Sponsored by Theater Without Borders & freeDimensional.
9:45 a.m.–11:15 a.m. PST / 12:45 p.m.-2:15 p.m. EST / 17:45-19:15 GMT.
Engaged Performance: Building Dialogue Through Intercultural Artistic Exchange Chair: Roberta Levitow, International & East Africa Sundance Institute Theatre Program and Co‐founder and Director of Theatre Without Borders. Panelists: Gülgün Kayim & Calling Shift collaboration, Philip Kan Gotanda (playwright), and Andrew Wood (San Francisco International Art Festival).
Sponsored by Theatre Without Borders.
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. PST / 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. EST / 19:30-21:00 GMT.
Re-Traditioning the Verse: Poetry in Performance Chair: Haleh Hatami, Golden Thread Productions Panelists: Amir Baradaran (new media visual artist and performer), Hafiz Karmali (auteur director), Zara Houshmand (poet, translator, director), and Torange Yeghiazarian (writer, director).
3:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m. PST / 6:15 p.m.-7:30 p.m. EST / 23:15-00:30 GMT.
From “War on Drugs” to “War on Terror”: Parallels in Latino/Chicano and Middle East American Performance Chair: Torange Yeghiazarian, Golden Thread Productions. Panelists: Jose Luis Valenzuela (LATC), Angela Marino (UC Berkeley dept. of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies), Octavio Solis (playwright), and RobertoVarea (Chair of Center for Latino Studies, University of San Francisco).
Sponsored by the Center for Latino Studies, University of San Francisco.
4:45 p.m.–6 p.m. PST / 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m. EST / (00:45-02:00 GMT on Monday, November 19).
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