Next Week at the Segal Center: Plays from TUNISIA, POLAND, CHILE, JAPAN, HAITI, AUSTRALIA, SINGAPORE, AUSTRIA, + INDIA at the PEN World Voices: International Play Festival
PEN: World VOices
WORLD VOICES: INTERNATIONAL PLAY FESTIVAL
April 28, 29, 30 | Daily at 2pm, 5pm, 7:30pm | Segal Theatre The Graduate Center, CUNY 365 Fifth Avenue FREE + Open to the Public | First come, first served.
The PEN World Voices Festival is an annual, week-long festival of international literature founded by Salman Rushdie and Paul Auster. This year, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center will host readings of nine seminal plays from five continents by some of the world's most important and exciting dramatists at their PEN World Voices: International Play Festival.
2:00pm | Tsunami By Jalila Baccar (Tunisia) Directed by Saheem Ali
Featuring Kathryn Kates and Salma Shaw
Playwright Jalila Baccar chronicles the events that shook Tunisia in the murky hours after the Jasmine Revolution—the event that triggered the Arab Spring. Tsunami is a trilogy devoted to the contemporary history of Tunisia, a cycle dominated by the question of memory: “A country without memory is a country which never knows where it is going.” The reading will be followed by a conversation with the director and Frank Hetschker (Executive Director of The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center The Graduate Center, CUNY), moderated by Marvin Carlson, (Professor of Theater, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
5:00pm | Endless Vigils at Crête-à-Pierrot By Dominique Batraville (Haiti) Directed by Awoye Timpo
Featuring Brian Tyree Henry and Carl Hendrick Louis
The dead and the living, who “walk on the bones of the dead,” are united by a wish to bring their dying nation together once again by physically and metaphysically reviving Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first leader of the revolution for an independent Haiti.The reading will be followed by a conversation with the playwright and the director, moderated by Thomas C. Spear (Professor of French, Lehman College and The Graduate Center, CUNY).
7:30pm | Villa + Discurso Written and directed by Guillermo Calderón (Chile) Assisted by Sarah Rose Leonard
Featuring Sue Jean Kim, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, and Nadia Bowers
In Villa, three women gather around an architectural model of the Villa Grimaldi, a site where thousands were tortured and hundreds were “disappeared,” to debate the ideal adaptation of these blood-soaked facilities and grapple with a nation’s unwanted legacy. In Discurso, Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s president from 2006 – 2010, makes her farewell speech on leaving office but she is not being as gracious and diplomatic as she should be. Is she saying what she really thinks or is someone putting words into her mouth?
The reading will be followed by a conversation with the playwright, moderated by Jean Graham Jones (Executive Officer of the Program in Theater, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
TUESDAY, APRIL 29
2:00pm | Yakiniku Dragon By Chong Wishing (Japan) Directed by Victor Maog
Featuring Stephanie Hsu, Ruy Iskandar, Paul Juhn, and Kaipo Schwab
Set in the years 1969 to 1971 in the Yakiniku Dragon, a restaurant without plumbing in a Korean-Japanese ghetto, Yakiniku Dragon tells the story of a young boy who feels welcomed neither by the Japanese nor Korean societies. The play is based on Chong’s own childhood experience, and is told through the six family members and guests who frequent the Yakiniku Dragon.
The reading will be followed by a conversation with the director and Frank Hentschker, (Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center CUNY), moderated by Peter Eckersall (Professor of Asian Theater, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
5:00pm | No Matter How Hard We Tried Or We Exist on the Best Terms We Can by Dorota Maslowska (Poland) Directed by Paul Bargetto
Featuring Judith Malina, Troy Lavallee, and Heather Benton
With wildly inventive language and razor-sharp humor, No Matter How Hard We Tried captures Poland’s contemporary moment, bringing together nouveau-riche media celebrities, the abject poor, phony artists, and disaffected youth all struggling to stay afloat in a toxic stew of commercialism, inter-generational confusion, Catholic nationalism, and idealized visions of Poland’s tragic past.
The reading will be followed by a conversation with the director, moderated by Frank Hentschker (Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
Presented in partnership with the Adam Mickiewicz nstitute/Culture.pl.
7:30pm | Holiday By Raimondo Cortese (Australia) Directed by Oliver Butler
Featuring Matt Maher and Paul Thureen
Holiday is an eclectic mixture of baroque song, video installation and gentle conversation, contemplating the world as a place where we can no longer cope with large occurrences and succeed only in retreating further into our own private spaces.
The reading will be followed by a conversation with the playwright and the director, moderated by Peter Eckersall (Professor of Asian Theater, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
Presented in Partnership with Australia Council for the Arts.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30
2:00pm | Cogito By Huzir Sulaiman (Singapore) Directed by Mike Donahue
Featuring Birgit Huppuch, Jenny Seastone Stern, Charles Socarides, and Meg MacCary
It is the year 2026. Katherine Lee is a wealthy socialite, married to Tony Szeto, a highly prized Singaporean biomedical scientist. When Katherine reads in a local newspaper that her husband has been assassinated, she discovers she is not the only one married to him.The reading will be followed by a conversation with: the director, Frank Hentschker (Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center The Graduate Center, CUNY) and Melissa Wong (PhD candidate, CUNY) moderated by Peter Eckersall ( Professor of Asian Theater, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
5:00pm | Rechnitz (The Exterminating Angel) By Elfriede Jelinek (Austria) Directed by Katherine Brook
Featuring Josh Gelb, Mike Iveson, Emily Davis, and Lucy Kaminsky
Rechnitz examines the silence about a massacre at the Austrian-Hungarian border on March 25, 1945. During a party by Countess Margit von Batthyány, Nazis killed about 200 Jews as part of their entertainment. Until today, the remains of the victims were not found, neither was the whole affair properly investigated. The reading will be followed by a conversation with the director and the translator Gitta Honegger, moderated by Frank Hentschker (Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
7:30pm | The Djinns of Eidgah Written and directed by Abhishek Majumdar (India) Produced in association with The Play Company
Ashrafi and Bilal are orphaned siblings stranded in Kashmir. While his sister is caught in the past, 18-year-old Bilal is the pride of the region, part of a teenage football team set for great heights. However, Kashmir’s violence destroys his idealism, and he is torn between escaping the war and participating in the cycles of resistance.
The reading will be followed by a conversation with the playwright and the director, moderated by Frank Hentschker (Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY).
The Djinns of Eidgah was developed as part of a long-term project between the Royal Court Theatre in London and Rage Theatre in Mumbai. It was first produced as part of the Writers Bloc Festival in India and in the current draft by the Royal Court Theatre in October 2013. Both productions directed by Richard Twyman.