Turkish Lawyer Pulled Between East and West, Old and New in World Premiere of The Beauty Inside

News   Turkish Lawyer Pulled Between East and West, Old and New in World Premiere of The Beauty Inside
InterAct Theatre Company, the Philadelphia Equity troupe devoted to new voices and plays about social issues, presents the world premiere of The Beauty Inside, about an American-educated Turkish lawyer caught between Western and traditional values.
Tatiana Gomberg (left) and Jennifer Gibbs in The Beauty Inside
Tatiana Gomberg (left) and Jennifer Gibbs in The Beauty Inside Photo by Seth Rozin

Catherine Filloux's play, co-produced by New Georges in Manhattan, began performances at InterAct's main stage in Philly March 4 and opened March 9. It continues to April 3 and then moves to New York City for a brief run.

"The story revolves around an American-educated Turkish lawyer, Devrim, who turns down a lucrative job in a New York City law firm in order to defend a case involving an attempted honor killing in her homeland," according to InterAct.

Kay Matschullat directs a company that includes Jennifer Gibbs (Devrim), Tatiana Gomberg (Yalova), Michelle Rios (Yalova's mother), Ed Hajj (Devrim's father) and Chaz Mena (Yalova's brother).

According to production notes, "The Beauty Inside follows the relationship between Devrim and her client, Yalova, an innocent and visionary girl who blindly accepts the barbarous Muslim tradition of honor killings. As Devrim struggles to educate and empower the scared young girl, a familial bond develops between them, driving a wedge between Yalova and her natural family. The Beauty Inside is a heroic play that captures the problem of balancing the desire to embrace Western civilization with the draw of traditional values."

Seth Rozin, producing artistic director of InterAct, stated, "In a time when our country faces the Herculean tasks of rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan, when our countrymen are finally paying attention to the Islamic World, and when Amnesty International has identified honor killings in Turkey as a major human rights priority, The Beauty Inside is an important play to be seen now by American audiences." Catherine Filloux is the author of numerous plays, including Eyes of the Heart, Silence of God and Mary and Myra. As a member of the HB Playwrights Foundation, six of her short plays have been produced in HBPF's annual festivals and are published by Smith & Kraus. She was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in playwriting at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Phen, Cambodia in 2003 and her short play Photographs from S-21 was performed in Khmer by actors from the National Theater in Phnom Penh. She is a member of New Dramatists, as well as the Writers Guild of America, Women's Project, New Georges, HB Playwrights, and Friends Without a Border.

Matschullat directed the world premiere of Filloux's Eyes of the Heart at the National Asian American Theatre Company. She has worked at the Vineyard Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse and Hudson Guild Theater.

Designers for The Beauty Inside are Takeshi Kata (set), Clifton Taylor and Carolyn Wong (lighting), Oana Botez-Ban (costume), Shannon Zura (sound). Music is by Liz Swados.

According to its mission, "InterAct is a theatre for today's world, producing new and contemporary plays that explore the social, political and cultural issues of our time."

InterAct Theatre Company is at 2030 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, PA.

For information, call (215) 568-8079 or visit www.InterActTheatre.org.

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