South-Asian and Middle Eastern Voices Among 11 New Plays in Lark Playwrights' Week in NYC June 10-18

News   South-Asian and Middle Eastern Voices Among 11 New Plays in Lark Playwrights' Week in NYC June 10-18
The Lark Play Development Center, committed to American and international writers, presents its 11th Annual Playwrights' Week Festival June 10-18, produced in partnership with the Indo-American Arts Council.

The 2005 festival in Manhattan features 11 plays, including three from the South Asian Diaspora and two from the Middle Eastern Diaspora.

"In keeping with the Lark's mission to reach out to unheard voices, submissions for this year's festival were sought especially from cultures whose perspectives are not generally reflected in mainstream theatre, specifically these Diaspora communities," according to the Lark.

The Festival "focuses on co-mingling artistic voices, with playwrights and directors of different backgrounds working together."

The 11 plays were selected by the Lark's Literary Wing from hundreds of scripts submitted by individuals, agents and theatres. The Lark is one of a few theatres in New York City to have an open submission policy and guarantees that all plays submitted will be read and considered.

This year's selections range from Taniya Hossain's Mother in Another Language , a comedy "about a Bengali/American couple whose engagement is complicated when their two, very different mothers both move into their apartment," to Good Hope by August Schulenberg about "an indigenous tribe in South Africa in the 1800s who, after repeated wars with colonialists, begin following the apocalyptic visions of a 16-year-old girl." Because of the developmental nature of this work, these presentations are not available for review, but are open to the public.

Plays developed in Playwrights' Week have gone on to full productions at theatres across the country (Ian Cohen's Lenny and Lou was at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Daphne Greave's Day of the Kings had its premiere at the Alliance in Atlanta and Sujata Bhatt's Queen of the Remote Control appeared at Mixed Blood in Minneapolis).

All events take place at The Lark Studio, 939 Eighth Avenue (between 55th and 56th Streets), Room 204, Second Floor. For reservations call (212) 246-2676 ext. 22 or email

Here's the schedule for Playwrights' Week:

  • Friday June 10
    7 PM – Opening Ceremonies featuring a Keynote Address delivered by MacArthur "genius" Award winner, law professor and author, Patricia Williams (writer for The Nation) and a special introduction to the Festival Playwrights.
  • Saturday June 11
    4 PM - All Fall Away by Said Sayrafiezadeh, directed by Isis Saratial Misdary with Ian Brennan, Jordan Brodsky, Jenny Maguire, John Sierros & Rebecca Wisocky.
    "A strange and surreal tale of a single mother and her son in New York City struggling against eviction and their unique relationship with an exterminator." 7 PM - Matka King by Anosh Irani, directed by Margarett Perry, with Samrat Chakrabarti, Poorna Jagannathan, Sanjiv Jhaveri & Jayant Kripalani.
    "When a deeply indebted gambler makes an unexpected wager the stakes become life and death."

  • Sunday June 12
    4 PM - Mother in Another Language by Taniya Hossain, directed by May Adrales, with Anna Ewing Bull, Mikelle Johnson, Aasif Mandvi, Rajika Puri, Thom Rivera & Najla Said. "A comedy about a Bengali/American couple whose engagement is complicated when their two, very different mothers both move into their apartment." 7 PM - Joys of Lipstick by Layla Dowlatshahi, directed by Stephanie Gilman, with Michelle Ammon, Sushamji Bedi, Saraya Broukhim,Terry Burstein, Abir Haddad, Poorna Jagannathan, Debargo Sanyal & Sam Younis.
    "An Iranian-American teenager and her cousin who is visiting from Iran struggle to create their own destinies in this play about freedom, tradition and displacement."

  • Monday June 13
    7 PM - Good Hope by August Schulenberg, directed by Gia Forakis, with Heather Dyas-Fried, Mike Hodges, Tom Ligon, Stephen Conrad Moore, Charles Parnell & Carolyn Ratteray.
    "In 1856 South Africa, the Xhosa, an indigenous people suffering from seven long wars against colonialists, follow the apocalyptic visions of a 16 year-old girl."
  • Tuesday June 14
    7 PM - Southern Cross by Dan O'Brien, directed by Michael John Garces, with Patricia Kalember.
    "Two women who have moved south to seek spiritual re-birth tell their stories in haunting and evocative monologues exploring faith, religion and the supernatural."
  • Wednesday June 15
    7 PM - Counter Offense by Rahul Varma, directed by Gita Reddy, with Sanjiv Jhaveri, Joy Jones, David Sajadi, Nandita Shenoy.
    "When an Iranian immigrant to Canada is arrested for beating his wife he becomes a pawn in a battle between a race-rights activist, a women’s rights activist and two cops trying to keep their jobs."
  • Thursday June 16
    7 PM - Billy Dillan Prays by Ken Hanes, directed by David Hilder, with Ana Marie Jomolca, Greg Skura, Ron Stetson & Jennifer Dorr White.
    "An author, in hiding after writing a controversial book about what the world might have been like if Jesus had never existed, reaches out to a discredited journalist to tell his story."
  • Friday June 17
    7 PM - Smart by Robert Fieldsteel, directed by Linnet Taylor, with Jessi Campbell, James Hallett, James Knight, Antoinette LaVecchia, Matthew Stadelmann & Bobby Steggert.
    "For his thesis, a sociology student interviews a high school 'A' student who helped kill two university professors in a brutal and senseless murder."
  • Saturday June 18
    4 PM - The Death of a Cat by C. Denby Swanson, directed by Stephen Wargo, with Fred Arsenault, Adair Moran, Edd Prostak & Jennifer Dorr White.
    "One by one, members of a family have succumbed to a mysterious disease. Now their only hope lies in the hands of the modest family Doctor. But is the Doctor the Devil?" 7 PM - The Ruby Vector by Karla Jennings, directed by Connie Grappo, with Brian Dykstra, William Franke, Keira Naughton, Lee Wilkof, Jennifer Dorr White & Janet Zarish.
    "Former Soviet bioweapons scientist Demyan Voronin negotiates his family’s rescue from strife-torn Yahadistan."


    Lark Play Development Center "nurtures artists at all stages in their careers, inviting them to freely express themselves in a supportive and rigorous environment."

    Leading the organization are producing director John Clinton Eisner and managing director Daniella Topol.

    Indo-American Arts Council, led by Aroon Shivdasani, is a registered not-for-profit, "secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America." Visit

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