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The University of Washington School of Drama will present Naomi Wallace's poetic 1994 drama, In the Heart of America, March 6 - 17, 2019 at the Jones Playhouse at UW.

In the play, a young Palestinian-American woman's quest to learn what happened to her brother, Remzi, who lost his life in the Gulf War, leads her to a Kentuckian soldier named Craver. Through a poetic web of time leaps and apparitions, we watch the two men fall in love as she unravels the mystery. Woven into that story, the ghost of a Vietnamese mother, Lu Ming, seeks justice for her infant daughter, a victim of the 1968 massacre at My Lai. Writing for The Guardian, theatre critic Lyn Gardner said, "In the Heart of America is a pretty startling piece of writing. It has the driving political anger and entwining of the personal and political that marked some of the best British writing of the early seventies, the vigor and mystical overtones of raw Sam Shepard, and the grace and sensuality of a poet."

The production is a master's thesis for third-year MFA director Amanda Friou and third-year MFA scenic designer Shin-yi Lin. The cast is comprised of members of the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) as well as guest actor Greg Lyle-Newton.

ABOUT Naomi Wallace

Kentucky-born playwright Naomi Wallace is author of 17 plays, including Night is a Room, One Flea Spare, Slaughter City, and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek. She is a two-time recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and the winner of an Obie Award, the Horton Foote Prize, the inaugural Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. A human rights activist, she is known for work for that is political in content and radical in form. Playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) has said, "Naomi Wallace commits the unpardonable sin of being partisan, and, the darkness and harshness of her work notwithstanding, outrageously optimistic. She seems to believe the world can change. She certainly writes as if she intends to set it on fire." Writing for American Theatre magazine in November, 2016, in a piece responding to that's year's U.S. presidential election, Wallace said, "Theatre then must be a site of resistance to what dehumanizes us-resistance that is an inclusive, joyful, sexy, potent labor that frees our constricted, consumer-soaked imaginations. A praxis that is less of a 'conversation' and more of a malediction (unpalatable) aimed at those in power."

In 2009, Wallace's play One Flea Spare was added to the permanent repertoire of the French National Theater, the Comédie-Francaise, making her only the second American ever to have a play included in that prestigious, 300-year-old collection.

The Middle East and Palestine in particular are frequent subjects in Wallace's plays, and she has admonished American theatre for failing to present Palestinian stories, particularly those that are critical of Israel. She is the co-editor of the anthology Inside/Outside: Six Plays from Palestine and the Diaspora. Wallace and co-writer Ismail Khalidi adapted Ghassan Kanafani's novel Returning to Haifa, which tells the story of a Palestinian family who flee their home in 1948, and return to find it occupied by an Israeli family. The play premiered at London's Finborough Theatre last February. In 2016, Wallace was selected by the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition to represent the U.S. on the Women's Boat to Gaza, an effort to challenge the Israeli military blockade and occupation of Gaza. However, the boat the Wallace was to sail on broke down, and her group was ultimately unable to make the journey. Wallace remains a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.


Director Amanda Friou is a third-year MFA directing student at the UW School of Drama. Previous UW Drama productions: 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs), Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), and Cripple Can't Dance. Friou came to UW after a decade working in New York City. She has worked nationally at ART, La Jolla Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, The Guthrie, Asolo Rep, and Geva Theatre Center, and in NYC at Ars Nova, NYU, Dixon Place, St. Ann's Warehouse, HERE, and Second Stage. She has assisted directors Jo Bonney, Will Pomerantz, Henry Wishcamper, and Warren Caryle. Favorite projects include the NY premiere of Naomi Wallace's No Such Cold Thing and a site specific production of Martha Boesing's Pimp. Amanda has also built puppets for Basil Twist, Hudson Vagabond Puppets, and Das Puppenspiel Puppet Theatre, where she was also a puppeteer. Friou is a proud graduate of Macalester College, a 2015 Drama League Resident Artist, 2011 Drama League Fellow, and a Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. In the Heart of America is Friou's master's thesis production.

March 6 - 17, 2019
Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30
Sunday at 2:00
Previews March 2 & 5 at 7:30 PM
Pre-Show Lobby Talk (speaker TBA) Sunday March 10th at 1:00 PM
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday March 13th (day-of-show only, $1 minimum)
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse
4045 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105


Costume Designer: Jordan Fell (3rd year MFA designer)
Lighting Designer: Chun Yen Huang (2nd year MFA designer)
Set Designer: Shin-yi Lin (3rd year MFA designer-master's thesis production)
Sound Designer: Kai Scheer (undergraduate Drama major)
Stage Manager: Elliot Schumacher (undergraduate Drama major)

CAST (PATP = Professional Actor Training Program-MFA, Acting):

Remzi: Adrian Tafesh (3rd year PATP)
Fairouz: Tricia Castañeda-Gonzales (3rd year PATP)
Lue Ming: Asialani Holman (1st year PATP)
Craver: Jon Díaz (1st year PATP)
Boxler: Greg Lyle-Newton (guest actor)

Access for students continues to be a top priority. Student ticket prices, which were lowered last year, will remain $10 for regular performances and $8 for previews. We will host a community Pay-What-You-Can the second Wednesday of each run.

Ticket prices for all UW Drama mainstage shows:

$20 - Regular
$14 - UWAA, UW Employee or Retiree, Senior
$10 - Student
$5 - TeenTix
Previews: $10 - Regular / $8 - Student

Tickets can be purchased at or through the ArtsUW Ticket Office: 206-543-4880,

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