"Raised in a conservative Muslim family in Atlanta, the outspoken and brilliant Zarina routinely clashes with her traditional father and sister," according to press notes. "Zarina’s one outlet — her recently completed book about women and Islam — threatens to tear her family apart for good. With humor and ferocity, Ayad Akhtar’s The Who & The What examines the giant chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives."
The play had its first developmental reading this past February during the Playhouse’s inaugural DNA New Work Series. Following the reading, artistic director Christopher Ashley wanted this new play as part of the 2013-14 season.
“I was so moved – not just by the piece itself, but also by the passionate and invigorating discussions it prompted with our audience after the reading,” said Ashley in a statement. “The play tackles many hot-button issues surrounding religion and family traditions, but with tremendous wit, warmth and wisdom. We welcome the opportunity to work with Ayad on his latest piece and witness the emergence of a major new voice in American theatre.”
The Playhouse will continue the development of The Who & The What with two additional steps: a reading in June and a workshop in September, both of which will incorporate discussions and post-show talk-backs with audiences and community leaders.
As previously announced, La Jolla Playhouse’s upcoming season includes His Girl Friday (Mandell Weiss Theatre: May 28 – June 30), adapted by John Guare from the Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur play The Front Page and the Howard Hawks film "His Girl Friday," with screenplay by Charles Lederer, produced by Columbia Pictures, directed by Christopher Ashley; Tribes (Mandell Weiss Forum: June 25 – July 21), by Nina Raine, directed by David Cromer; Sideways (Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre: July 16 – Aug. 18), by Rex Pickett, directed by Des McAnuff; the world premiere of The Tallest Tree in the Forest (Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre: Oct. 9 – Nov. 3), written and performed by Daniel Beaty, directed by Moisés Kaufman; and a re-imagined production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Side Show (Mandell Weiss Theatre: Nov. 5 – Dec. 15), music by Henry Krieger, book and lyrics by Bill Russell and directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon, produced in association with The Kennedy Center.
Tickets to the 2013-14 season are only available through a subscription purchase by calling the Patron Services Office at (858) 550-1010 or at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.