We just finished up a great run of THE WAY WEST at Steppenwolf.
And don’t think I take this stuff lightly:
I got to see closing day and night and to see how it’s progressed. I love these actors. I think I may love the ending, actually. We’ll see.
They do a thing wherein people pick a line from the play they’ve finished and leave it in the dressing room, for future denizens. Here are this casts’ posts:
Didi O’ Connell
Didi O’Connell and Caroline Neff
And from Zoe Perry.
Thank you Chicago!
I am very proud of this news (below, from Broadway World). It comes from people and a place I really respect. In the meantime, Happy New Year to all. It’s a day and night of forced gaiety, but I suppose it gives us all a demarcation we sometimes need. Start fresh with new, clear out with old and unnecessary! All that.
“Marin Theatre Company artistic director Jasson Minadakis, managing director Michael Barker and director of new play development Margot Melcon announced today the winners of MTC’s two national new American play prizes, a program now in its sixth year. The Way West by Mona Mansour won the 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and Eric Dufault won the 2013 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize for his play The Year of the Rooster. The winners were selected from nearly 700 eligible submissions.”
American Theatre Magazine on FACING OUR TRUTHS
Nice article in this month’s American Theatre magazine on the project created by Keith Josef Adkins of New Black Fest — Facing Our Truths: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race, and Privilege.
Theatre is one of the few public forums in which people can engage and have conversation and feel comfortable and feel protected,” Adkins says. A playwright himself, he knew he didn’t want to put the burden of responding to the case on the shoulders of just one writer. “I just felt, ‘Let me find writers whom I know are from diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives,’” he recalls thinking. “That way the conversation can be wide.”
First reading is Dec. 5, CUNY’s Segal Center.
I’m very pleased! URGE FOR GOING is making its West Coast premiere, starting now. Like, tonight. (Notice the use of “like.” I am after all still a California girl at heart.) Tonight! Evren Odcikin directs. You should know Evren: He’s super smart, intuitive, and brings to this play all that informs his own story. Here’s Evren after our first preview, doing notes, looking very calm, on a set designed by Kate Boyd that very much captures the look and feel of a refugee camp dwelling.
Many thanks to Torange Yeghiazarian, the artistic director of Golden Thread, who championed this play years ago, and who basically has been doing this sort of thing for almost twenty years!
Here is a production pic of the cast: Camilla Betancourt Ascensio, Terry Lamb, and Tara Blau. Lights and set by Kate Boyd. Costumes by Michelle Mulholland.
If you are in or near the Bay Area, please feel free to spread the word. Many shukrans, Mona
I’m so happy to report that the story I was interviewed for by the amazing Caridad Svich is now ON THE SHELVES in September 2013’s American Theatre magazine. Go buy the magazine! Here, below (just scroll), you can see the article, with lots of pictures and so on.
By the grace of many gods, I will be joining the fabulous people at the Sundance Theatre Lab this summer to work on a new project with Mark Wing-Davey. Mark! Mark! We worked together at the Humana Fest on The Hour of Feeling, and this play, The Vagrant, still very much in its beginning stages, is about the same character — Adham, the English Literature academic who has grown up in 1960s West Bank and goes to London to deliver a lecture in 1967.
In this new play (three characters so far), Adham has chosen never to go back to Palestine at all, and instead has made a life for himself in England. For anyone who knows Urge for Going, this play is like the ‘alternate’ reality/alternate path play: If he never goes back, what does his life look like? Do you avoid war’s horrors (in this case, in his case, the Lebanese Civil War) by avoiding the war? What happens to your psyche? These are the questions I have begun to ask and will keep asking… this play rounds out the trilogy. I am thrilled to be going to such a beautiful spot with such a group of writers, directors, and actors, and so on.
The amazing Golden Thread productions (http://www.goldenthread.org) is producing my play Urge for Going this fall, as well as a new play, 444 Days, by Golden’s artistic director, Torange Yeghiazarian. Torange is a fantastic writer and an all-around fabulous person who has kept artists from the Middle East on the radar in San Francisco since 1996. No small feat!
Here is the link to our Kickstarter campaign, featuring Torange and I waxing poetic about the (mythic?) Middle East, with a special appearance by my father — AS IN MY FATHER, Nabih Mansour, I think you will see how he feels about his homeland…and how he feels about being on camera. On the page, click on the main photo.
Feel free to send this along!
So Berkeley Rep announced this week the list of artists who will be participating in this summer’s Ground Floor. It’s a very impressive list! Here’s how they describe it: The Ground Floor is Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work seeks to enhance and expand the processes by which Berkeley Rep makes theatre.
This will be an artistic playground/workspace/place for The Wife, a play I’m co-creating with Tala Manassah (http://www.morningsidecenter.org/) my collaborator on AFTER. Here’s our description:
This play with music is a cabaret act featuring the wife of a modern dictator somewhere in the Middle East. She’s Western-educated, British-accented; poised. She tells stories, jokes, sings in Arabic and English—and through her narrative and songs we track the progressive unraveling of a regime that, hastened by the 2011 revolutions in the region, goes from having a platform espousing anti-imperialist pan-Arabism to being a source of terror and revulsion among its own people. Underneath the songs and stories we unpack what power is, how “evil” can be accepted and how perhaps this “First Lady,” whose role is to provide a face to a regime—however unconscionable its actions—might have more in common with other first ladies, West and East, than perhaps we’d like to think.
We will be working with S.F.-based musicians. We will be listening to lots and lots of Arabic music and doing lots of research. Basically, all things I love to do.
- http://www.berkeleyrep.org/about/groundfloor.asp#mansour -
So: The Way West will be in Steppenwolf’s (as in Steppenwolf-Steppenwolf! like, what the sh*t?) next season. Directed by Amy Morton.
So. I mean.
So I’m very excited, and pretty much that’s all I can say about it right now. Below is a link on the story –
and then a bit from their site. So come to Chicago, next April? Yes please.
The Way West
by Mona Mansour
Directed by ensemble member Amy MortonApril 3 — June 8, 2014
|A wryly funny play—with music—about the contemporary quirks of our American spirit. In a modern-day California town that’s seen better days, Mom shares death-defying tales of pioneer crossings with her two squabbling adult daughters as she waits for her bankruptcy to come through. Peppered with original prairie songs, this hilarious and heartbreaking play about today’s American family explores the mixed blessing of our great frontier spirit, which has fueled both self-delusion and survival.
A new play is a thing of wonder! See this:
This one was written with my frequent collaborator Tala Manassah — big-timey educator by day (see http://www.morningsidecenter.org), playwright by night.
- And it’s directed by Hadi Tabbal, phenomenal actor and director by day and night.
- Hadi and I worked together last year, when he starred in my Humana play THE HOUR OF FEELING. One thing you should know about him: He looks great in a 1960s haircut!
Hadi wanted to direct a play for the Arab and Arab-American community in Queens, so he approached us. Tala and I have written two other plays thus far: THE LETTER, and THE HOUSE. This one is described thusly:
Set in a family-owned bookstore in modern-day Brooklyn, AFTER follows high school student Tariq, who struggles to find his voice in his family and surrounding community. With his only friend Amelia, a dedicated activist, Tariq exploits his one superior talent that is nothing short of dangerous: hacking the internet. When his cousin Rania arrives to the United States under extremely mysterious circumstances, her presence causes a series of events that force Tariq and his family to reevaluate their fundamental questions about generational differences, discrimination, and truth.
I’d add to that that this is a play for young adults and up, really. Written for, and starring young adults, save for the amazing Yusef Bulos, who works side by side with the CUNY students. Come see!
Info: March 15-21, @ York College Little Theatre, Jamaica, New York; call box office for tix, (718) 262-5375.