Arab-Muslim Production of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE Gets Reading at The Public Theater

By: Jan. 13, 2013
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Brooke Ciardelli will direct a reading at The Public Theater, NY of a modernized, Arabic-American-Muslim- production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, almost fifty years after the first production premiered on Broadway.

By refocusing Miller's lens on the Muslim-American community, we can better understand how the ongoing struggle of immigrants doesn't change; only the faces and nationalities are different. This is truly a "moment when great events both at home and abroad [cry] out for recognition and analytic inspection." (Arthur Miller's Introduction to A View From the Bridge.)

"The Trust gave unprecedented permission to Ms. Ciardelli to produce and direct a newly conceived production of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. We strongly support the project" said Patrick Herold, Sr. Vice-President, International Creative Management. Julia Bolous of The Arthur Miller Trust echoed "We have encouraged Brooke's vision and look forward to the future possibilities of this production."

Written in 1955, the play is a gripping family drama set within a tightly knit Italian-Catholic immigrant community in Brooklyn, NY. In this new production, the central family will be updated to Muslim-Syrian- Americans. Ciardelli has translated character names, locations and specific lines of text into Arabic and comments, "Although the countries and cultures have changed, the issues surrounding immigration are still at the heart of American politics, and there is no greater play that confronts these issues than A View From The Bridge."

Stephen Marino, Editor of The Arthur Miller Journal, comments "This new version shows how these same emotions can infect an Arab-American family in contemporary Brooklyn." The struggle is universal, but particularly acute for an immigrant trying to assimilate into America while staying true to the cultures and customs of their home country. For a post-World War II Italian-Catholic, or a post-9/11 Arab-Muslim, these competing forces remain the same. Dawood Yasin, Muslim Life Advisor at the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, comments "This project is of great importance given the national debate about the Muslim immigrant experience in the US, and more specifically the issues surrounding Arab-American Muslims. . . the arts, and more specifically the theater, represent an ideal forum for these ideas to be explored."

"Miller's political concerns are ever-present in his plays, which have won a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards. His most celebrated works call into question the American dream by exploring our national conscience on a domestic level." said Ciardelli. Her creative partner on the project, Catherine Doherty, reflects, "this new Muslim interpretation will return Arthur Miller to the forefront of America's social conscience."

The workshop reading will take place at New York's Public Theater, founded by Joseph Papp, nearly 60 years ago and has served as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force in leading and framing dialogue on important issues of the day.

Cast includes: Laith Nakli, Lanna Joffrey, Dina Shihabi, Eyas Younis, Ramsey Farahallah, Sevan Greene, Babak Tafti, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Bob Turano and Patrick Woodall.


Laith Nakli - Ahmed (Eddie) Food and Fadwa, Aftermath. (New York Theater Workshop) Off Broadway: Lidless (Page 73), Inana (Denver Center), Cry of the Reed (Huntington), War (Rattlestick). Film and TV: A Allegiance, Song Still Inside, My Last Day Without You, Happythankyoumoreplease, The Visitor, Arranged, I Just Want My Pants Back, Traveler, The Sopranos, Rescue Me, Without a Trace, Law & Order: CSI, Third Watch. Grew up in Damascus, Syria before coming to New York in 1990.

Lanna Joffrey - Yaminah (Beatrice) Stage: NY: The Public, Urban Stages, Kitchen Theatre, Lark Theatre, HERE Arts Center, TerraNova Collective, The Flea. REGIONAL: Denver Center, Capitol Rep, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Northern Stage-VT, Lyric Stage. Born in Iran, grew up in London and Albuquerque, NM.

Dina Shibabi as Aa'eesha (Catherine) NYU Graduate Program, Extreme Girls and One Guy (Cherry Lane). Born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Dubai and Lebanon.

Eyas Younis - Omar (Marco) In Jordan: Film: Seven Hour Difference, Till Death, Bath Bayakha. USA: TV: Smash. Born and raised in Jordan, moved to USA in 2012.

Ramsey Faragallah - Ibrahim (Alfieri) Stage: The Kennedy Center, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, New York Stage and Film, Yale Rep, Hartford Stage, The Old Vic (London), Culture Project, Williamstown and Lincoln Center Lab. Films of Woody Allen, Sidney Pollack, Tony Gilroy and Sidney Lumet among others. Recent television: The Big C, The Good Wife, 30 Rock, Blue Bloods, Flight of the Conchords, NYC 22, the Law & Order canon and has recurring roles on Homeland, Person of Interest, Law & Order SVU and The Late Show with David Letterman. Prior to living in New York, he has lived in Egypt and Palestine.

Sevan Greene - Yousef (Louis) Lortel Award-Winning script Betrayed (Culture Project, LATW, Kennedy Center, PBS), NYTW's Aftermath, Prospect's Mapquest, FringeNYC's hit Perez Hilton Saves the Universe...., NYMF's Les Enfants. TV/Film: The Dictator, Blue Bloods, Damages, The Stoop. Born in Kuwait of Lebanese-Armenia & Pakistani parents, escaped to America during the first Gulf War, 1990.

Babak Tafti - Khalid (Rodolpho) Yale MFA. Stage: The North Pool (Barrington Stage), Blood and Gifts (LaJolla Playhouse), Scorched (American Conservatory Theater. TV: Blue Bloods. 1st generation Iranian-American.

Fajer Al-Kaisi - Nazeem (Tony) Stage: Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shahid (New York Theater Workshop). Film/TV: Kareem-I'll come running, Callipine-Jew of Malta, Law & Order, Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, Onion New Network. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, grew up in Montreal, Canada, moved to USA in 2004.

Bob Turano - U.S. Immigration Officer Stage: A View From The Bridge with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johannson (Broadway-revival), TV: Every show shot in NYC including 15 episodes of Law & Order. Film: Theresa is a Mother, winner Best Picture, International Film Festival Manhattan.

Patrick Woodall - U.S. Immigration Officer Stage: NYC: The London Merchant, Hamlet, They Call Him Young Lou, Twelfth Night, Three Sisters. Regional: RED, Sleuth, Romeo and Juliet. FILM: Biddeford, Another Kind; TV: Deception (NBC)

Brooke Wetzel Ciardelli - Director Former Founding Artistic Director of Northern Stage (VT), she directed over 50 main stage productions in 16 seasons. Her productions of "All My Sons" (2004), "LES MISERABLES" (2008), "Hamlet" (2009) and "Amadeus" (2010) each won New England Theatre Conference Moss Hart Awards for Excellence.

She directed a workshop of Arthur Miller's then-unpublished Resurrection Blues with the playwright in residence, directed Patrick Stewart and Lisa Harrow in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and worked with playwright Sonja Linden on the American Premiere of The Strange Passenger.

As a creator, Brooke has adapted a number of classical pieces for the stage. In 2007 her adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, The O Myths was the basis of an international exchange between actors from New York, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Romania. Her adaptation The Shrew Tamer combining Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew with the response piece The Tamer Tamed by Shakespeare contemporary John Fletcher-was reviewed as "a delicious new comedy," and Ed Siegel of the Boston Globe wrote, "Ciardelli has fashioned a play of significant historical interest."

Ciardelli is a Visiting Fellow of University College, Durham University, Durham, England, and has been a guest lecturer at the State University of New York, Albany; Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe; The Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland; Dartmouth College, NH; New England Theatre Conference, Boston, MA and others.

Steven Marino - Literary & Dramaturg Founding editor of The Arthur Miller Journal and adjunct professor of English at St. Francis College. He is former president of the Arthur Miller Society. His work on Arthur Miller has appeared in Modern Drama, The South Atlantic Review, the Dictionary of Literary Biography and The Nevada Historical Quarterly. He is the editor of "The Salesman Has a Birthday": Essays Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (University Press of America, 2000) and the author of A Language Study of Arthur Miller's Plays, The Poetic in the Colloquial (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002).

Brenda Murphy - Literary & Dramaturg Brenda Murphy is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, a past president of the American Theatre and Drama Society and serves on the Board of the Arthur Miller Society. Written works, in par,t include Congressional Theatre: Dramatizing McCarthyism on Stage, Film, and Television (1999), American Realism and American Drama, 1880-1940, and the editor of Critical Insights: Arthur Miller (2010), Understanding Death of a Salesman (with Susan Abbotson, 1999).

Dawood Yasin - Cultural Advisor Current Muslim Life advisor to Dartmouth College, previously spent 5 years in Damascus, taught at Yale University, was the Director of Outreach at Zayed Center for Islamic Culture - U.A.E., and teaches Arabic at Zaytuna Institute, Berkeley, CA.

Khalid Latif - Cultural Advisor Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at NYU, previously was first Muslim Chaplain at Princeton University, in 2007 Mayor Bloomberg appointed him as youngest chaplain of NYPD, has advised U.S. State Department and was named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2010.

Raizatt Butt - Cultural Advisor Former religious affairs correspondent for the Guardian and presented the multi-award winning podcast Islamophonic. She is also a contributor for BBC Radio 2, 4 and the World Service.

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