Fort Point Theatre Channel to Present WAITING FOR GILGAMESH: SCENES FROM IRAQ, 6/26-28

Fort Point Theatre Channel to Present WAITING FOR GILGAMESH: SCENES FROM IRAQ, 6/26-28

Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq; presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel. Performances run June 26-28, Thurs.-Sat. at 8 pm, with a special 2 pm matinee on Sat. June 28. Tickets: $20, $15 for students, seniors. and veterans. Held at Arsenal Center for the Arts, Black Box Theatre, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, MA 02472. For general information, www.fortpointtc.org, 617.750.8900; for advance tickets, call 800.838.3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/690754.

With Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq, Fort Point Theatre Channel (FPTC) continues its collaboration with the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences and the Joiner's artist in residence Anne Loyer of the Odysseus Project on the project Tamziq: Scattered and Connected. The partners are joined this year by the Center for Arabic Culture in a production directed by Marc S. Miller.

This world premiere by Iraqi playwright Amir Al-Azraki explores diverse Iraqi points of view about the events leading up to and following the U.S.-led invasion of their country in 2003. Al-Azraki dramatizes the problematic lives of Iraqis and the tricky situation before and after the war. In its exposition of truth as rooted in perspective, Waiting for Gilgamesh challenges the one-sidedness of our way of thinking. "The spectators are nowhere to find ready-made answers," Al-Azraki has written, "but are left with a clash of voices, each cudgeling his views."

During the first years of the Iraq War, Al-Azraki, born in Basra, taught English drama at the University of Basra and also worked as a fixer and translator for such international news outlets as The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News, later working for Al Mirbad TV and Radio run by the BBC World Service Trust. Among his plays are Stuck, Notorious Women, Lysistrata in Iraq, Home Woes, and Judgement Day.

Waiting for Gilgamesh is directed by Marc S. Miller and performed by James Bocock, Sally Nutt, Danielle Pointe-Tezana, Bari Robinson, Kria Sakeeny, and Kari Soustiel. Live music with Jacques Pardo of Atlas Soul (www.atlas-soul.com) with guest musicians. Additional production staff: Anne Loyer (production designer), Trip Venturella (stage manager), Jacques Pardo (composer, sound designer), Chris Bocchiaro (lighting designer), Mario Avila (puppets & masks), Hana Pegrimkova (puppets & masks), Julie Dauber (costume designer), Asmaa Najim Alhadidi (literary advisor) and Sam Lasman (dramaturg).

Playwright Amir Al-Azraki, born in Basra, received a BA from the University of Basra, a MA from Baghdad University, and a PhD in theatre studies from York University, Toronto. During the first years of the Iraq War, al-Azraki, in addition to teaching English drama at the University of Basra, worked as a fixer and translator for such international news outlets as The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News, later working for Al Mirbad TV and Radio run by the BBC World Service Trust. He developed a collaboration of the University of Basra, the Central School of Speech and Drama, and the University of London on "Transforming the Learning Environment Through Forum Theatre: Developing a Basra University Model." Among his plays are Stuck, Notorious Women, Lysistrata in Iraq, Home Woes, and Judgement Day. Previously, Fort Point Theatre Channel, the Odysseus Project, and the Joiner Institute have presented readings of several of his plays, as well as a workshop production of The Land, by Jessica Litwak, with al-Azraki.

William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences (www.umb.edu/joinerinstitute):
The William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences promotes research, curriculum development, public events, and educational, cultural, and humanitarian exchanges which foster greater understanding and innovative means of addressing the consequences of war.

In conjunction with Waiting for Gilgamesh, FPTC has commissioned a companion piece entitled Reconciliation (working title), written by the American actor, playwright, and director Charles Dumas. It serves as a counterpoint to Waiting for Gilgamesh, and explores various U.S. points of view about the conflict in Iraq. A reading of this new play, directed by Cheryl Singleton, will take place in conjunction with the performances of Waiting for Gilgamesh and the Joiner Institute's annual Writers Workshop. The staged reading of Reconciliation will be held at UMass Boston on Thursday, June 26th at 2 pm. For further information, visit www.fortpointtc.org or call 617.750.8900.

Charles Dumas, who recently retired as professor in the School of Theatre at Penn State University, is also senior professor at the University of the Free State in the Republic of South Africa. He has been a company member of Negro Ensemble Company, McCarter Theatre, Shakespeare at Folger, Pennsylvania Stage, and Main Street Theatre. Further information on Dumas can be found at www.personal.psu.edu/cxd28/.

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