“Disgraced” Play Takes On Islamophobia and Racism

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Disgraced” the Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Ayad Akhtar, is coming to Nyack, New York this month. With its themes of Islamophobia, freedom of speech, cultural appropriation and radical profiling, the play is certain to get its audiences thinking. This fact is not lost on those directly involved with this production, which opens at Elmwood Playhouse January 18th and runs through February 9th.

The focus of this 90-minute play is a dinner party hosted by an Upper East Side couple living in New York City. The hosts are Amir, a Pakistani American who has renounced his Muslim faith, and his white artist wife Emily. The dinner guests include Amir’s African American lawyer co-worker, and her white Jewish husband. Soon the dinner turns from a friendly gathering to an intense altercation.

“Disgraced” is sure to upend the notions of tolerance among its audiences. As a result of the feelings and ideas the play may evoke, Elmwood Playhouse will be holding conversations with the audience, or “talkbacks”, after specific performances.

“Work like ‘Disgraced’ is important because we don’t enter its world, it enters ours”, says A.M. Bhatt, who plays the central character, Amir. “The talkbacks will provide an opportunity for audiences to work through some of the tension that the play intentionally builds.”

Disgraced cast

Photo Caption: (From left to right) A. M. Bhatt, Pauline Quinones, Meghan Lane, and Nick Nappo appearing in “Disgraced” at Elmwood Playhouse [photo by Omar Kozarsky]

The talkbacks will be moderated but the conversations will center on the audience. “I’m sure audiences will gain empathy, insight, and a better understanding of Islam and those who practice.” added Aaron Sital, the youngest member of the cast, portraying the role of Amir’s nephew, Abe.

For the actors, “Disgraced” provides an opportunity for them to flex their acting skills.

Meghan Lane is excited to play the role of Emily. “After reading this play when I attended Stella Adler a few years ago, Emily became one of those characters I kept in mind as a complex but enriching role to play”, says Lane.

A special Talk Back discussion with the cast from “Disgraced” along with special guest Dr. Syed Ali, will take place with the audience after the performance on Friday January 25th. Additional talkbacks with the cast will be held after the performances on both Friday February 1st and Thursday February 7th. Elmwood Playhouse is located at 10 Park Street in Nyack, NY. For reservations, information, or directions, call the Elmwood Playhouse Box Office at (845) 353-1313, or visit www.elmwoodplayhouse.com

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