2015 ReOrient Festival Lineup Announced

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company focused on the Middle East, has announced the eight short plays selected for its prestigious ReOrient 2015 Festival of Short Plays. The winners feature returning ReOrient favorites Yussef El Guindi, Mona Mansour, Tala Manassah, and Silva Semerciyan, as well as emerging Middle Eastern-American playwrights such as Nahal Navidar. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of three UK-based playwrights: Semerciyan, Hassan Abdulrazzak, and Hannah Khalil. ReOrient 2015 will be the US debut for Abdulrazzak and Khalil. Two ReOrient newcomers Emma Goldman-Sherman and Ken Kaissar round out the winners. Selected from 75 submissions from 15 countries, the winning short plays are diverse in content and style, highlighting the multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities. In addition, six playwrights received Honorable Mentions: James Christy, J. Thalia Cunningham, Jesse Freeman, Tariq Hamami, Mara Lockowandt, and Madison Niederhauser.

The ReOrient 2015 Festival of Short Plays will run September 10-October 4, 2015 at Z Below in San Francisco. A sneak peek selection from ReOrient 2015 plays will be presented as a staged reading on Monday, September 29, at 7pm at the Thick House (1695 18th St., San Francisco). The presentation is part of the company's New Threads staged reading series, which is free and open to the public. . http://www.goldenthread.org/programs/new-threads-2014/

Golden Thread's Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian says: "This year's selection process was particularly difficult, because we faced extraordinarily high quality of plays. It's such a thrill to discover new writers and follow common themes in the submissions. For example, this year we had two very strong plays humanizing a tyrant. There seems to be an urge to explore the mind of some of the leaders who have been toppled, perhaps to understand how to deal with the ones who have not."

Literary Artistic Associate Evren Odcikin, who led the selection process for the ReOrient Festival, adds, "Each of our ReOrient playwrights brings a unique voice and point of view to the festival. I cannot wait to see how these beautiful and wildly diverse plays speak to each other and connect with our audiences. I couldn't be prouder of Golden Thread for sustaining that dialogue, and supporting the work of these hard-working artists."

ReOrient Festival of Short Plays was inaugurated in 1999 to present alternative perspectives of the Middle East and to showcase the multiplicity of stories, voices, and styles from the region and has since become Golden Thread's most recognized and celebrated program. This ambitious festival, now presented triennially, turns San Francisco into a Mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. It has served as a springboard for the careers of top Middle Eastern-American playwrights such as Yussef El Guindi and Betty Shamieh, and has introduced Bay Area audiences to significant and rarely-produced dramatic works from the Middle East by authors such as Sadegh Hedayat, Fatma Gallaire, and Tawfiq Al-Hakim. Alongside Middle Eastern voices, ReOrient also features the work of non-Middle Eastern playwrights, and has included premieres by such distinguished American playwrights such as Naomi Wallace, Eric Ehn, and Israel Horovitz. Since 2009, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the festival, Golden Thread has organized the ReOrient Forum, a weekend-long convening in San Francisco aimed at expanding the dialogue on theatre, the Middle East, and current hot topics that illuminate the region's relationship with the US.


September 10-October 4, 2015 at Z Below
ReOrient 2015 Forum: October 3-4, 2015 at Z Space

Lost Kingdom by Hassan Abdulrazzak (London, UK)
Picking Up the Scent by Yussef El Guindi (Seattle, WA, USA)
Counting in Shaab by Emma Goldman-Sherman (New York, NY, USA)
Ceasefire by Ken Kaissar (Yardley, PA, USA)
Bitterenders by Hannah Khalil (London, UK)
The House by Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour (New York, NY, USA)
Songs of Our Childhood by Nahal Navidar (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Turning Tricks by Silva Semerciyan (Bristol, UK)

Honorary Mentions
Egyptian Song by James Christy (Princeton, NJ, USA)
Unveiled by J. Thalia Cunningham (Delmar, NY, USA)
The Legendary Fingers Nowicki by Jesse Freeman (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Final Request by Tariq Hamami (Bronx, NY, USA)
A Traveller's Guide to the West Bank Settlements by Mara Lockowandt (London, UK)
In the In-Between by Madison Niederhauser (Houston, TX, USA)

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