Remote Theater Project's GREY ROCK Will Tour Four U.S. Cities In January and February
Remote Theater Project announces that its production of Grey Rock, written and directed by Palestinian artist Amir Nizar Zuabi, will travel to four U.S. cities from January 8-February 9, 2020. Commissioned by Remote Theater Project, Grey Rock marks the first time a U.S. theater company has commissioned a Palestinian artist to create an original work for American audiences.
Set in the present day and reflecting on the 1969 moon landing, Grey Rock tells the story of an ordinary Palestinian so enamored with the U.S. landing that he muses, "Shouldn't Palestine, the land of prophets, also have a presence on the moon?" Without money or technology, but with the help of his bemused West Bank neighbors, he sets out to build a space rocket in his shed. Through Grey Rock, Zuabi creates a humorous, fantastical exploration of the inalienable right to dream and how American culture has permeated and influenced Palestinian culture.
The U.S. tour of Grey Rock begins in New York at The Public Theater's Under The Radar Festival, January 8-19. The production then travels to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, NY, January 23-26, and to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., January 30-February 1, before concluding its tour in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center, February 6-9. Grey Rock premiered at New York's La MaMa Theater in January, 2019. It is performed in English by the original five-member cast from across Palestine, including internationally known actor Khalifa Natour.
"Grey Rock centers on the idea that human curiosity is stronger than gravity," said playwright and director Amir Nizar Zuabi. "I believe that art, which has no boundaries, can influence dialogue. I'm eager to share what I've created with this company of Palestinian actors."
Grey Rock is the debut commissioned work from Remote Theater Project, an American theater company founded and led by Producing Artistic Director Alexandra Aron. The company is dedicated to bringing theater artists who are isolated either geographically or politically to New York City to develop new work, tour internationally and have their voices heard outside the confines of their regions.
"Grey Rock is about the inalienable right to dream," said Remote Theater Project's Alexandra Aron. "In 1995, when I first worked in Palestine, I met a vibrant theater community whose work spoke to me in profound ways. Following the war in Gaza in 2014, I was determined to bring the work of Palestinian artists to New York and, after meeting Amir Nizar Zuabi in 2016, I knew that commissioning a new work for American audiences was the best way to explore the relationship between the United States and Palestine."
Joining Khalifa Natour on stage in Grey Rock are Ivan Kevork Azazian, Fida Zaidan, Alaa Shehada, and Motaz Malhees. The creative team for Grey Rock includes Tal Yarden (set and video design), Muaz Jubeh (lighting design), Katie Down (sound design), Alexandra Aron (producer), and Bonnie Sue Stein (associate producer).
Grey Rock is commissioned and produced by Remote Theater Project in association with the non-profit organization GOH Productions.
About the artists
Amir Nizar Zuabi (Writer, Director) is an award- winning theatre writer and director and is the Artistic Director of ShiberHur theatre company. He is also an Artistic Associate of the Palestinian National Theatre, was an associate director of Young Vic London (2009-17) as well as a member of the United Theatres Europe for artistic achievement, and an alumnus of the Sundance Theatre program. Writing and directing credits include I am Yusuf and This is my Brother, In the Penal Colony, Alive From Palestine, Oh My Sweet Land, The Beloved (co-produced by ShiberHur/Young Vic) Three days of Grief, West of Us the Sea, Mid Spring Musical, Dry Mud, Against A Hard Surface (ShiberHur) Last Ward and Who Killed You Asmahan. Directing credits include Samson and Delilah (Flanders Opera, Antwerp) Jidarriya by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (Edinburgh International Festival, Bouffes du Nord and world tour), Forget Herostratus, Le Malade Imaginaire, War or More and Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company). In 2017 he directed Oh My Sweet Land, in a project with the PlayCo in kitchens across New York. Grey Rock is his first play for Remote Theater Project. He is currently writing new plays for the Riksteatern in Stockholm and for The National Theatre, London.
Alexandra Aron (Producing Artistic Director) founded Remote Theater Project in 2018. Recent credits include A Night in the Old Marketplace with music by Frank London, lyrics by Glen Berger (São Paulo, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Toronto, Milan, New York City, MASS MoCA, Berkeley Rep and Summerscape, Bard College), Director - Salome: Woman of Valor, by Frank London and Adeena Karasick (Vancouver Festival and Toronto's Harborview Center 2018), Judith Sloan's It Can Happen Here at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Aron produced and directed the short film Two Altars and a Cave (2013) starring Lois Smith. A Fulbright scholar to Argentina in 2005, she is an affiliated artist of New Georges Theatre, an alumna of the Actor's Studio Playwrights and Directors Forum, Lincoln Center Directing Lab and Women's Project Directors Forum. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University.
The Remote Theater Project is supported by CEC ArtsLink, Left Tilt Fund, Qattan Foundation, Still Point Fund, Tajwaal Foundation, and many individual donors.
Project Advisors: Faisal Al Jubiri (arts management executive), David J. Diamond, (Co-Director, La MaMa Umbria International), Roberta Levitow (Co-founder and Director, Theatre Without Borders), Lisa Robb (Arts Education Advocate) and Shalva Wise (former JVP Artist Council & Projects Coordinator).