BWW Review: YASMINA'S NECKLACE at Premiere Stages in Union is a Moving Story-A Must-See
"I come from war."
By Yasmina in Yasmina's Necklace
Premiere Stages is currently presenting the New Jersey premiere of Rohina Malik's compelling play, Yasmina's Necklace at Kean University in Union through September 22. The play is superbly directed by Kareem Fahmy and features a cast that brings Malik's beautifully crafted, emotive, yet entertaining story to life. This production addresses timely issues with sensitivity, heart, and just the right amount of humor.
Yasmina's Necklace is set in Chicago where a young man, Abdul Samee has rejected his cultural identity and changed his name to Sam in order to succeed in a financial career. He is also in an unhappy state because of a recent divorce. Sam's parents Ali and Sarah along with their Iman, Kareem try to be helpful by introducing him to Yasmina, a talented artist who fled from war-torn Iraq with her loving father, Musa. Yasmina hopes to assist other refugees in America and Sam's business acumen is very valuable as the two of them work together to build a charitable organization. There is potential for a romance, yet there are shadows from Yasmina's past that threaten her future happiness. This is an important story for our time that tells of cultural divides, the ravages of war, and the tremendous difficulties faced by refugees. It also expresses the heartwarming themes of family, faith, love and devotion.
The extraordinary troupe of professional actors couldn't be better in their roles. The cast includes Layan Elwazani as Yasmina; Eliud Kauffman as Ali/Man; Robert Manning, Jr. as Imam Kareem/Officer; Haythem Noor as Musa; Peter Romano as Amir; Cesar J. Rosado as Abdul (Sam) Samee; and Socorro Santiago as Sarah.
Audiences will like that the characters are real and relatable. There are touching, gripping, and even funny scenes that include Ali, Sara and Sam first arriving to the home of Yasmina and Musa; Sam and Yasmina discussing outreach to refugees; Sara telling Yasmina about her interest in the Quran and her conversion to Islam; Sam inviting Yasmina to visit the Art Institute of Chicago; and Yasmina remembering her childhood friend, Admir and the significance of her necklace.
The Creative Team has done a marvelous job of bringing Yasmina's Necklace to the Union Stage. They include scenic design by David M. Barber; costume design by Dina El-Azia; sound design and composition by Fan Zhang; Props Master, Helen Tewksbury; Production Stage Manager, Dale Smallwood; and casting by Michael Cassara, CSA.
Our readers will certainly enjoy seeing Yasmina's Necklace and appreciate the importance of this fine play. We applaud Premiere Stages for continuing to make socially and culturally relevant productions available to metro area audiences.
Yasmina's Necklace will be on stage through September 22 in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center on the Kean University main campus in Union, N.J. The show runs for 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Note that the 8:00 pm performance on Thursday, September 12 will take place at 11 am to accommodate area students. Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni and staff, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of eight or more apply. To make reservations or to order a season brochure, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit Premiere Stages online at http://www.premierestagesatkean.com/.
Photo credit: Mike Peters