FOOD AND FADWA Begins Previews at New York Theatre Workshop Tonight, 5/18


New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) Artistic Director James C. Nicola and Managing Director William Russo and Noor Theatre Artistic Director Lameece Isaaq, Executive Director Maha Chehlaoui, and Producing Director Nancy Vitale have announced that the world premiere of Food and Fadwa, written by Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kader, and directed by Shana Gold, begins performances tonight, Friday, May 18, 2012, at NYTW, 79 East 4 Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue. The opening night is scheduled for Thursday, June 7. Food and Fadwa is a co-production with Noor Theatre, a company-in-residence at New York Theatre Workshop.

Meet Fadwa Faranesh, an unmarried, 30-something Palestinian woman living in Bethlehem in the politically volatile West Bank. Known for her delectable cooking and deep-seated sense of duty to her family and aging father, our kitchen maven insists on continuing the preparations for the wedding of her younger sister despite constraints of daily life under occupation. In Food and Fadwa politics blend with family tensions to create a sometimes humorous and sometimes heartbreaking meal of a play that melds the fight a Palestinian family wages to hold onto its traditional culture with its need to celebrate love, joy, and hope.

The cast of Food and Fadwa is Maha Chehlaoui (Aftermath), Nasser Faris (“Homeland”), Lameece Issaq (The Black Eyed), Kathryn Kates (Midlife Crisis), Arian Moayed (Tony nominee for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire), and Haaz Sleiman (Oscar-nominated The Visitor, “Nurse Jackie”).

Food and Fadwa marks the first major production in the collaboration between New York Theatre Workshop and Noor Theatre. The partnership is part of NYTW’s Companies-in-Residence program that provides support and resources to further the growth and development of emerging theatre companies.

Artistic Director James C. Nicola says, “We approach the premiere of Food and Fadwa with a great deal of pride, humility, and joy. Five years in the making, the play’s production represents not just the arrival of a new writing voice in Lameece and Jake, but also the emergence of a New Theatre Company that makes new work from a Middle Eastern-American perspective. NYTW has worked closely throughout that time in supporting both the play and the company coming to blossom.”

“Noor is pleased to birth our first full production with our friends at NYTW,” says Noor Artistic Director and co-author Lameece Isaaq. “As long-time supporters of Food and Fadwa, their guidance to us as individual artists and producers has been invaluable for the past few years. We look forward to exploring these exciting new voices with NYTW for years to come.”

The scenic design for Food and Fadwa is by Andromache Chalfant; costume design is by Gabriel Berry; lighting design is by Japhy Weideman; sound design is by Jane Shaw; original music is by Jane Shaw, Amir ElSaffar and George Ziadeh; music consultation is by George Ziadeh and Amir ElSaffar; production stage manager is Lindsey Turtletaub.

Lameece Issaq as an actor has appeared in The Fever Chart, The Public Theatre; The Black Eyed, New York Theatre Workshop; Girl Blog From Iraq: Baghdad Burning, Barrow Street Theater/Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Stage Theater Award Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble); Stuff Happens, Public Theater (Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Ensemble); Cymbeline, The Vineyard Playhouse; Adventures of Perseus, McCarter Theatre. As a playwright her work includes“A” Date, Samia’s Cup, Neighborhood Nightly News (The New York Arab American Comedy Festival); Nooha’s List, part of Motherhood Outloud (Hartford Stage, The Geffen and Primary Stages); Food and Fadwa, 2011 recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. Artistic Director of Noor Theatre, dedicated to supporting, developing and presenting the work of theatre artists of Middle Eastern descent. MFA University of Texas, Austin. Member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, The Dramatists Guild, and AEA.

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