A Syrian-Jewish Community Is Stunning in Premiere of Adjmi Play in DC

News   A Syrian-Jewish Community Is Stunning in Premiere of Adjmi Play in DC
David Adjmi's drama Stunning, set in the Syrian-Jewish community of Brooklyn, begins a world-premiere run March 10 by Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC.
Stunning stars Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Laura Heisler
Stunning stars Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Laura Heisler

Anne Kauffman directs a cast that includes Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Clint Brandhagen, Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, Laura Heisler, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend and Abby Wood.

Opening is March 16, with performances continuing to April 6.


According to Woolly Mammoth, "Sixteen-year-old Lily (Laura Heisler) knows nothing beyond the Syrian-Jewish community in Brooklyn where she lives a cloistered life with her much older husband Ike (Piter Marek). Soon an unlikely relationship with her enigmatic new African-American maid (Quincy Tyler Bernstine) opens Lily's world to new possibilities — but at a big price. David Adjmi's daring new work shifts from caustic satire to violent drama as it exposes the ways we invent and defend our identities in the melting-pot of America."

Adjmi's plays include Strange Attractors (Empty Space Theatre), The Evildoers (Yale Rep), Elective Affinities (Royal Court, RSC/Stratford and Soho Theatre), Marie Antoinette (Sundance/Public NYSF Residency) and Caligula (Soho Rep). Woolly artistic director Howard Shalwitz said in a statement, "David Adjmi is one of the most brilliant and uncompromising young playwrights in America today, and Stunning is a work that is genuinely provocative. It is set in a very specific community, the Syrian Jewish enclave in Brooklyn. But it deals with a lasting American theme in our nation of immigrants — the conflict between the instinct to remain separate and the instinct to fit in. The play is both funny and frightening, the language is dazzling, and the characters complex and unpredictable."

Director Kauffman received an Obie Award for her direction of The Thugs by Adam Bock at SoHo Rep. Her 2007 production of God's Ear by Jenny Schwartz (New Georges) is being remounted at the Vineyard Theatre in April 2008. Her other directing credits include Have You Seen Steve Steven by Ann Marie Healy (13P), Doubt by John Patrick Shanley and Expecting Isabel by Lisa Loomer (Asolo Repertory Theater), Act A Lady by Jordan Harrison (Humana Festival) and more.

The design team for Stunning includes Dan Conway (set design), Helen Huang (costume design), Colin K. Bills (lighting design), Ryan Rumery (sound design) and Jennifer Sheetz (properties).

Woolly Mammoth is located at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D) in Washington, DC. For tickets and information, visit (202) 393-3939 or visit www.woollymammoth.net.

Laura Heisler and Quincy Tyler Bernstine in <i>Stunning</i>
Laura Heisler and Quincy Tyler Bernstine in Stunning Photo by Stan Barouh
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