|Theatre Without Boundaries!|
WOMEN ON STAGE FOR PEACE
I am deeply honored to have been personally invited to the Women On Stage for Peace festival by Patricia Ariza, Artistic Director of the Colombian Theatre Corporation and a woman with an extraordinary, fifty-year track record of creating powerful theatre committed to social change—in a country where to do so has often meant a risk of death. Although I am proud of NPTC's 25-year similar mission, the stakes for us have clearly not been so high. My desire therefore, was to bring a production worthy of Women On Stage for Peace, artistically and thematically.
And I could think of no better play to bring than Ann Chamberlin's JIHAD, one of the first scripts developed in our now multiple award-winning Women's Work Project. JIHAD started that trend with the OOBR Award for Best Play in 1996. We remounted the play for the first Midtown International Theatre Festival in 2000, again receiving rave reviews for the script and production.
Revisiting the play now, it is clear that JIHAD was ahead of its time. The title alone was a word unfamiliar to most Americans. Unfortunately, the themes and message of the play have remained distressingly relevant, and many of the lines and passages have an uncanny resonance today. Yet this is not a depressing or didactic script! We have an award and the reviews to prove it!
"The play is beautifully written. The text is poetic without sounding forced, and its many layers of meaning make it fascinating and complex. Ann Chamberlin is an archaeologist and novelist as well as a playwright. Her expertise in different cultures is apparent not so much in hyper-realism of detail but in an understanding so deep as to be simply a part of the fabric of the play. With the loaded issues of cultural and gender differences (not to mention the appearance of a Goddess-like figure), Jihad could have been a painfully didactic exercise in political correctness. Chamberlin’s lightness of touch
avoids this pitfall entirely."
Playwright: Ann Chamberlin
Director: Melody Brooks
Production Designer: Meganne George
Lighting Desiner: Joyce Liao
Costume Designer: Peter Fogel
Fight Director: Ray Rodroguez
Stage Manager: Carolina Arboleda
Producing Associate: Colie McClellan
with: E.J. An, MacKenzie Knapp, Landon Woodson
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, ANN CHAMBERLIN also spent big blocks of time as a child in Europe where her father was visiting professor of mathematics. After flitting from school to school and major to major including theater, history and English, she finally majored in Archaeology of the Middle East at the University of Utah. She spent a summer in Israel excavating the biblical city of Beersheva, traveling throughout the Holy Land and living in the old city of Jerusalem for a month. She has studied Hebrew, Arabic, Egyptian hieroglyphs and ancient Akkadian as well as English, French and German, which were the languages of her high school years. She has traveled across all of North Africa, Turkey, Syria and Jordan. Damascus is her present favorite destination--if only…Ann is the author of nineteen books, mostly historical novels. Her trilogy set in the 16th-century Ottoman Empire was on the bestsellers list in Turkey for nearly a year. Another award-winning trilogy is set in the days of early Islam. She has also written a nonfiction history of women in the Middle East entitled The Veil In The Looking Glass. Ann is the author of many plays which have been produced across the country from Seattle to New York, and of several screenplays. She is active in the Historical Novel Society, writing reviews and organizing conferences, and works part-time at the Middle East Library at the University of Utah as a research consultant.