Atlantic Theater Company presents the first play in its free reading series of works by artists from across the Middle East and North Africa August 9. The Atlantic's Middle Eastern MixFest, which officially launched August 8 with a writers' panel, kicks off with a reading of Stav Palti-Negev's Salim Salim, directed by Kareem Fahmy, at 3 PM.
In Salim Salim, a Palestinian man is released from an Israeli prison and mistakenly brought to the Gaza border crossing while his family awaits in the West Bank. Stranded on the border, he is forced to make a choice before the Israeli soldiers make one for him. The play received a Best Play Award at the 2014 Israel Fringe Theater Festival and subsequently had a two-year run at Tmuna Theater in Tel Aviv.
Middle Eastern MixFest will continue with free readings at Atlantic Theater through August 16. The series is co-curated by playwrights Mona Mansour and Heather Raffo.
The series also features Kareem Fahmy's adaptation of the novel, The Yacoubian Building, which will be presented August 14 at 2 PM with direction by Melissa Crespo. Set in Cairo, the story chronicles the lives of Egyptians of different religions, sexual orientations, and class backgrounds in a period before the Arab Spring. The cast includes Zenzi Williams, who recently starred in the Robert O’Hara-helmed Henry V at The Public, and James Cusati-Moyer, recently seen on Broadway in Six Degrees of Separation.
Also part of Middle Eastern MixFest are new full-length plays by Mansour, Abdullah Alkafri, Tala Manassah, and Hannah Khalil, as well as short works by Melis Aker, Younis Ali, Sevan K. Greene, and Sanaz Toossi. There will also be an excerpt from an untitled new work by co-curator Raffo.
“Although the plays pull from diverse communities across the Middle East and North Africa, so many of the artists represent something uniquely American,” says Raffo. “Atlantic has provided a rare platform to hear these works not as a single representation of a culture, but as a kaleidoscope of plays and artists.”
“These stories, deeply felt and told in innovative ways, will, I believe, speak to some of the issues at the heart of the experience of the Middle Eastern diaspora,” adds Mansour.
To RSVP, visit AtlanticTheater.org.