PlayCo to Present Idea Lab Programming and Benefit Performance During Run of 9 KINDS OF SILENCE

The premiere officially opens on September 18 at 122CC’s Second Floor Theatre.

By: Sep. 12, 2023
PlayCo to Present Idea Lab Programming and Benefit Performance During Run of 9 KINDS OF SILENCE
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PlayCo today will present a series of Idea Lab conversations (September 15-19) and a special benefit performance (October 4) to be held during the company’s world premiere production of 9 Kinds of Silence, written and directed by Abhishek Majumdar. For its Idea Lab, PlayCo partners with cultural, educational, social justice, and social service organizations to collaboratively program public events and activities featuring artists, journalists, scholars, activists, and community leaders. The events announced today explore the themes and resonance of 9 Kinds of Silence and the creative practice of its Bangalore- and Abu Dhabi-based playwright and director, whose plays “rattle people” and “set [the] theatre ablaze” (The Guardian). The premiere officially opens on September 18 at 122CC’s Second Floor Theatre (150 First Ave). 

The 9 Kinds of Silence Idea Lab programming kicks off this Friday, September 15, with “A Conversation on Silence Between Friends,” pairing Abhishek Majumdar and documentary filmmaker, Montclair State University Professor of English, and Fullbright-Hays Fellow Fawzia Afzal Khan. The following evening (Saturday, September 16), PlayCo presents “Artistic Process + Inspirations with Abhishek Majumdar,” which puts Majumdar in dialogue with dramaturg and PlayCo Associate Director for Programming Annie Jin Wang. The Idea Lab conversations conclude Tuesday, September 19, with “The Costs of War and the Artists' Responsibility,” an incisive discussion between artist and mutual aid organizer William Chan and veteran, artist, and poet GOODW.Y.N (aka Nicole Goodwin)—both of Veteran Art Movement—and photojournalist, professor, and writer Alan Chin. 

 All Idea Lab events are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made at PlayCo.org.

The special October 4 benefit performance will feature a pre-show toast, 7pm performance and post-show reception. Details and tickets are available here

Commissioned by PlayCo, 9 Kinds of Silence is a tense, haunting exploration of sound, silence, and the modern mythology of the nation-state. In a military outpost on the beach, patriotic mothers debrief a country’s sons as they return, victorious, from battle in an endless, finally ending war. But one soldier refuses to speak, and his silence threatens to undo him and his would-be confessor alike.

Palestinian-Israeli actress Hend Ayoub (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on Broadway, First Down, A Thousand Splendid Suns), who played the role of the Mother in an earlier PlayCo workshop of the play, returns in this world premiere production; she is joined by actor and musician Joe Joseph (The Kite Runner and The Band’s Visit on Broadway, Merrily We Roll Along) as the Son. The creative team includes Jian Jung (Set and Costume Designer) Emma Deane (Lighting Designer), and M. Florian Staab (Composer and Sound Designer).

9 Kinds of Silence speaks to PlayCo’s commitment to sparking international dialogue around theater and presenting theater from America and around the world to New York audiences. It will be followed, in January 2024, by PlayCo and WP Theater’s co-production of Corinne Jaber’s Munich Medea: Happy Family at WP Theater (4th floor, 2162, Broadway, New York), reuniting PlayCo with acclaimed director Lee Sunday Evans, who staged their productions of Christopher Chen’s Caught and Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya.

About the Idea Lab Participants

Fawzia Afzal-Khan (she/her) is a self-described schol-art-ivist who engages her scholarship and performance work in the service of social justice ideals. She is Professor of English, a University Distinguished Scholar, and former Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Montclair State University. She has held a Visiting Professorship of the Arts at NYU in Abu Dhabi 2016-18, and spent several semesters over the past two decades teaching at higher-ed institutions in her native Pakistan, often as a Fulbright Fellow. She is the author of six books including one on Pakistani theatre and the women’s movement and a memoir about growing up in Pakistan. Afzal-Khan is a trained singer in the North Indo-Pakistani vocal classical tradition, a published poet and playwright, was founding member and resident Sufi singer of the Compagnie Faim de Siecle, and has performed her one woman-show, Scheherazade Goes West: will the ‘Reel’ Muslim Woman Please Stand Up? at various locations around the world, including the Smithsonian, Trinity College Dublin, the Brecht Forum NY, T2F in Karachi. and the James Stewart Theatre at Princeton University. She and Shahid Nadeem recently completed a three-act play on TE Lawrence’s exploits in Lahore, Miranshah and Kashmir after World War I. Her short play-in-progress, Palestinian/Pakistinian, will be staged as a dramatic reading at the Budarz auditorim of Ossining Public Library by the Westchester Theatre Collective on September 27. Afzal-Khan blogs at www.travelingfeminista.com

William Chan (he/him) is an artist and mutual aid organizer. His critical statements on the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered some of most important works in response to the Iraq War. His book Ten Years After Iraq is used as course materials at Harvard University and collected by institutions such as Tate Modern, Tim Hetherington Library at the Bronx Documentary Center, Brooklyn Museum, and Yale University, among others.

Alan Chin (he/him) was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked in China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Central Asia, and Ukraine, as well as extensively in the United States. He is a contributing photographer and writer to many publications, an Adjunct Professor at the New School Schools of Public Engagement and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and his work is in the collections of the Museum Of Modern Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The New York Times twice nominated Alan for the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Kosovo conflict in 1999 and 2000. Chin is a 2022 Magnum Foundation Counter-Histories grantee. He is also the Managing Director of Facing Change: Documenting America / Documenting Detroit, a community-based photojournalism initiative; winner of the 2017 Knight Foundation Detroit Arts Challenge and 2019 and 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, as well as 2019, 2020, and 2021 Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grantee. 

GOODW.Y.N (aka Nicole Goodwin (they/them) are longlisted for The Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for 2023 and are the winner of the LMCC Creative Engagement Grant for 2023. They are also a 2022-23 Franklin Furnace Fund recipient, a semifinalist for the Headlands 2023 Chamberlain Award, a finalist for the CUE Foundation’s 2022 Public Programs Fellowship, as well as the 2018 Ragdale Alice Judson Hayes Fellowship recipient, and advanced to the second round of the 2018 Creative Capital Awards. They published the articles “Talking with My Daughter…” and “Why is this Happening in Your Life…” in The New York Times’ parenting blog Motherlode. Their work Ain’t I a Woman (?/!): Poems was longlisted for The Black Spring Press Group’s The Christopher Smart-Joan Alice Prize for 2020.

Abhishek Majumdar (he/him) is a playwright, scenographer, and director working in India and internationally. His work has been produced and commissioned in leading theaters of the world including Royal Court Theatre London, Prithvi Theatre Mumbai, Ranga Shankara Bangalore, Deutsch Shauspielhaus Hamburg, Ruhrfest Recklinghausen, Théâtre du Soleil Paris, National Theatre London, San Francisco Opera, PEN World Voices, Internacionale Dramaturgie Festival Buenos Aires and PlayCo New York amongst others. He is a recipient of multiple awards including the International Theatremakers award New York, Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award Delhi, The Shankar Nag Rangakarmi Award Bangalore, the Toto Funds the Arts Award, Segal Center Award for Civic Engagement in the Arts, Best Director in London Movie Awards, Best Director 8 and Hal/ Film Festival (Rome) Awards amongst others. He works in Theater, Film and Opera. His book of essays, Theater Across Borders is published by Bloomsbury International as part of the Theatermakers series and he has been published, performed and translated in Hindi, English, French, German, Czech, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri, and Spanish. He is the Artistic Director of Nalanda Arts Studio Bangalore and creative producer at New Voices Arts Project based in Bangalore. He is also Associate Professor at New York University in Abu Dhabi and the Program head of the Theater Program.

Annie Jin Wang (she/her) is the Associate Director for Programming at PlayCo, and a first-generation Chinese American dramaturg and generative artist whose body of work investigates constructs of race, gender, and citizenship. She is currently supporting new projects in development at Yangtze Rep, Beth Morrison Projects, the Perelman Performing Arts Center, and the Playwrights' Center. Her own writing has been developed with Soho Rep, Target Margin Theater, Fresh Ground Pepper, Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company, and PlayGround-NY. Annie holds an MFA from Columbia University, and BAs from Wellesley College.

About PlayCo

PlayCo (Kate Loewald, Founding Producer, and Robert G. Bradshaw, Executive Producer) is an Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theater. PlayCo produces adventurous new plays from the U.S. and around the world, to advance a dynamic global experience of contemporary theater and expand the voices and perspectives represented on U.S. stages.

PlayCo has produced 42 new plays from the United States, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, South and East Asia, and the Middle East. PlayCo’s distinctive international programming links American theatre with world theater, American artists with the global creative community, and American audiences with a whole world of plays. Previous productions include Sarah Einspanier's acclaimed Lunch Bunch, Ebru Nihan Celkan's Will You Come With Me?, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ wry and wrenching Recent Alien Abductions, Lee Sunday Evans’ New York Times Critics’ Pick production of Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya, Amir Nizar Zuabi’s This Is Who I Am and the sold-out Oh My Sweet Land, Guillermo Calderón’s Villa, Christopher Chen’s Caught (Obie Award for Playwriting, 2017), Kyle Jarrow & Lauren Worsham’s The Wildness, Debbie Tucker Green’s generations, Aya Ogawa’s Ludic Proxy, Antonio Vega’s Django in Pain and The Duchamp Syndrome, and more.




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