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BWW Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE at Williamstown Theatre Festival On Audible Theater

World Premiere - Available Now

BWW Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE at Williamstown Theatre Festival On Audible Theater

Nazanin and her tight-knit circle of friends are on the brink of adulthood. As they prepare for a wedding, outside the suburban living room the Iranian Revolution simmers and threatens to alter the course of their lives. Spanning the course of 14 years (1978 - 1992) WISH YOU WERE HERE, Sanaz Toossi's world premiere play, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, shines a light on the daring potential of friendship amid the relentless aftershocks of political upheaval. As the revolution escalates, each woman must choose to join the wave of emigration or face an equally uncertain future at home. WISH YOU WERE HERE chronicles a decade of life during war, as best friends forever become friends long lost, scattered and searching for home.

BWW Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE at Williamstown Theatre Festival On Audible Theater The ensemble cast includes Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat, Nazanin Nour, Artemis Pebdani, and Roxanna Hope Radja. The five women and their interactions play out in a series of short scenes, chronologically over two-hours. Toossi spends a great deal of that time developing the characters and more specifically, their interdependence. While each woman is unique and different, their similarity and shared cultural experience are of primary focus. The level of intimacy the characters share is unusual and beyond, what my unscientific study suggests are, American norms. They rely on one another as a source of information regarding topics that some may find delicate. The dialogue includes subjects and terms that some will likely find a bit raw and possibly uncomfortable. Perhaps this is done to show the tightness of the fabric woven between the women. Perhaps, in a world where it seems that "locker room talk" among men is tolerated, it points out that there is no reason to expect anything different from anyone, at least behind closed doors.

The action is even and moderately paced throughout. There are no particularly gripping moments of intensity or emotional highs and lows typically found in productions for example 2019 WTF's world premiere of "Selling Kabul". As WISH YOU WERE HERE unfolded, I found myself drawing similarities to films "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", and "Waiting to Exhale", wherein groups of young women try to deal with their very lives.

WISH YOU WERE HERE presents a reality which, on the surface, might seem rather different than our own, but below is far more similar. In the final scenes / moments, it also pointed out, to me, how relatively "good" Americans have it. Then again, like all works of art, what it says to you will likely vary for those who experience it.

WISH YOU WERE HERE is the sixth of seven productions in Williamstown Theatre Festival's 2020 Season and is now available to Audible listeners. The final selection and world premiere of a new Musical "ROW" is scheduled to be released April 8. Special access to all seven titles in the WTF Season on Audible will be made available to eligible donors. Visit www.wtfestival.org/support for more information.


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From This Author Marc Savitt