Hybrid Theatre Works Opens U.S. Premiere of COMEDY OF SORROWS at HERE Tonight

Hybrid Theatre Works will present the U.S. Premiere of one of the first pieces of Egyptian theatre to emerge from the Egyptian uprising: Ibrahim El-Husseini's Comedy of Sorrows.

Comedy of Sorrows (Commedia Al-Ahzaan) follows a young university-educated Egyptian woman who, through a series of encounters with different members of society, comes to realize that she had been oblivious to the poverty and misery of her fellow Egyptians. The play presents a collective and unsentimental account of a nation's awakening. Through a unique combination of vivid poetry and colloquial dialogue, it celebrates the uprising of a people, while at the same time anticipating the uncertainty and tumult of a nation struggling to transition to democracy.

Comedy of Sorrows will be directed by Egyptian-American Tracy Cameron Francis. The production will feature a multi-ethnic cast including: award winning actress Najla Said* (Palestine /NYTW), 9 Parts of Desire/Seattle Rep), Adi Hanash (Chad Diety/Wooly Mammoth,White Collar), Paul Kelly*, Lily Balsen*, Celeste Muñiz*, Raphael Eilenberg*, Gordon Kupperstein*, Sara Oliva*, Bobbac Kashani, Laura Riveros, Youness Tahiri. Set Design by Yin-Chiao Liao, Music by Ryan Anthony Francis, Sound by Julian Mesri, Lighting by Mike Megliola, choreography by Rebecca Martinez.

First performed in July, 2011 at Cairo's Al-Ghad Theatre, Comedy of Sorrows won accolades from some of Egypt's most influential critics and scholars. In her review for Al-Ahram newspaper, professor and critic Nehad Seleiha called the play an "emotionally poignant and aesthetically cathartic theatrical experience." Poet and critic Girgus Shukry wrote in the Journal of Radio and Television that while "we may agree or disagree with [El-Husseini's] method of treatment, no one will dispute the fact that we are witnessing a major creative work... in which the author chooses to ask questions rather than offer ready-made answers.

The English translation of Comedy of Sorrows was commissioned and presented by the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and the Martin E. Segal Theater Center at the City University of New York.

Hybrid Theatre Works is an international collective of artists focused on breaking artistic and cultural boundaries through the creation of work that is a hybrid of disciplines, cultures, and fields of study. www.hybridtheatreworks.org

*Appears courtesy Actors' Equity Association



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