PRESS CONTACT: CYNTHIA FLEMING. 801 363 7522. CYNTHIA@SALTLAKEACTINGCOMPANY.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
SALT LAKE ACTING COMPANY PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “THE PERSIAN QUARTER” BY KATHLEEN CAHILL, DIRECTED BY ALEXANDRA HARBOLD.
“This is a story told on a Persian carpet…
an invisible carpet in which we are both the weavers and the threads.”
SLAC is delighted to announce that THE PERSIAN QUARTER by Kathleen Cahill was chosen by The Edgerton Foundation as a recipient of their prestigious 2010 New American Play Award. The goal of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play fund is to encourage the development of new plays, more specifically, world-premieres at non-profit theatres across the country. The grant allows development time for the entire creative team behind a new play. With this gift, THE PERSIAN QUARTER will be allowed to utilize one additional week of rehearsal time. Since 2006, 111 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards have been granted, totaling 3.2 million dollars. This is the third grant the Edgerton Foundation has gifted the Salt Lake Acting Company, twice for plays by Kathleen Cahill, CHARM in 2009 and THE PERSIAN QUARTER in 2011.
Poetry and politics interweave through THE PERSIAN QUARTER. America’s best selling13th century Persian poet, Rumi serves as the play’s mystic guide, “digging a waterway through history and politics, to try to reach another shore… another realm.”
The play unfolds on the final day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1981 Tehran with Ann, an American hostage and Shirin, an Iranian revolutionary student who is one of her captors. Twenty-eight years later in New York City, 2009, their daughters, Emily and Azadeh, meet accidentally – without knowing their shared past -- in an empty classroom at Columbia University during the visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
In THE PERSIAN QUARTER we witness not only the confrontation of these mothers and daughters, but also the synchronicity of their hopes for and visions of their respective countries. The play wades into the cross currents between Iran and America, revealing a troubled, interconnected history, questioning what we know of our own history, what we’ve forgotten, and the legacy of political policies and decisions.
Playwright Kathleen Cahill says: “I wrote THE PERSIAN QUARTER as an attempt to understand my own experience. I lived in Iran more than thirty years ago, when, as a young woman in search of adventure, I got a job teaching English in the city of Shiraz. It was a different world and a different time. Iran was America's great ally, and the Shah was our best friend in the Middle East. There were American movies at the local cinema every Wednesday night preceded by a least a half hour of commercials selling American washing machines and dishwashers. My female Iranian students wore mini skirts and transparent chadors. But there were also rumors of students disappearing, and scary stories about SAVAC the Shah's secret police. I was lucky because I got out of Iran shortly before the Revolution which ousted the Shah and the "American Satans." But I had no idea while I was there, that there was such political ferment going on underground. Many years later, in 2009, I was mesmerized by the images of the brave women of Iran, in their black chadors, taking to the streets to demand their political rights, even if doing so would cost them their lives. The sight of them made me think back on my own experiences in Iran, so many years ago. I gave myself a second chance to try to understand what I had missed the first time.”
Director Alexandra Harbold says: “For me, THE PERSIAN QUARTER is about a crisis of recognition, of understanding. The 1979 Hostage Crisis is also called the Diplomatic Crisis – and because Kathleen has inspired me to explore the elasticity of language, I started wondering about the word crisis and how the naming of the event transforms the perspective. In the Greek, crisis means the turning point in a disease. A fevered state and the moment that the fever breaks. And that felt really right to me.”
SLAC Executive Producers Keven Myhre and Cynthia Fleming say: “Kathleen is a remarkable playwright living in Salt Lake City and we are honored to help her establish her voice nationally. We are proud to be producing THE PERSIAN QUARTER, her 2nd World Premiere. Kathleen recently accepted our offer to become a Playwright in Residence at SLAC.”
SLAC PRODUCTION The Persian Quarter
PLAYWRIGHT Kathleen Cahill
DIRECTOR Alexandra Harbold
CAST Nell Gwynn, Deena Marie Manzanares, Shane Mozaffari, Josh Thoemke
SET DESIGN Keven Myhre
COSTUME DESIGN Brenda Van Der Weil
LIGHTING DESIGN Jesse Portillo
SOUND DESIGN Cynthia L. Kehr Rees
CHOREOGRAPHER Cynthia Fleming
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER John Graham
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER Jennie Sant
DATES Previews: February 2 & 3, 2011
Opening: February 4, 2011
Closing: February 27, 2011
TIMES Previews: Wednesday & Thursday- 7:30 p.m.
Regular: Wednesday – Saturday- 7:30 p.m.
Sunday- 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
The 2010-2011 Season is dedicated to the Playwrights, Subscribers, Actors, Board Members, Directors, Donors, Theatre Artists, Volunteers and Employees that have contributed to SLAC throughout the past 40 years.
Tuesday, February 1- ZAPped Tuesday, a free performance sponsored by the Zoo, Arts and Parks program. 7PM, to reserve a seat call 801-363-7522
Friday, February 4- Opening Night Celebration
Sunday, February 6- A conversation with Playwright Kathleen Cahill and The Persian Quarter cast at 4PM following the matinee performance
Sunday, February 13- US | Iran * Patriots | Poets * Pilou Rice | Apple Pie, Exploring our relationship with Iran, Free Panel Discussion at 5 PM with Moderator, Tim Chambless, Professor of Political Science (U of U), and Panelists; Rasoul Sorkhabi, Director of the Rumi Poetry Club, Jim Dabakis, co-founder of Equality Utah, and Playwright Kathleen Cahill.
Sunday, February 13- Theatre Student Series Performance at 7 PM
Monday, February 21- Free New Play Sounding Series reading at 7 PM showcasing a new play by Kathleen Cahill
SLAC was founded in 1970 and is dedicated to producing, commissioning and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists. SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group, a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres, and the National New Play Network.
Tickets range from $15-$41 depending on performance. Discounts available for students, 30 & under, and groups of ten or more.
Tickets available at 801-363-SLAC (7522), at www.saltlakeactingcompany.org, or in person at 168 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Salt Lake Acting Company