TheatreSquared (T2) will stage a special workshop production of “10,000 Balconies” as the first offering in the Spring Theatre at T2’s new home in downtown Fayetteville. This new play–conceived, created and directed by Kholoud Sawaf (director of T2’s Vietgone)– is loosely inspired by “Romeo and Juliet” and set in modern Syria. “10,000 Balconies” is an intimate window into the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world, suffused with its poetry, music, dance, and movement, and centered on a story of love in contemporary Damascus, according to a press release.
Hadi Eldebek (Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road project ensemble) and members of the cast will perform original music for the production. The play’s three-year development—which included a series of artist-driven workshops and retreats in Northwest Arkansas and New York—and public performances were made possible by a major grant from the Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, according to a press release.
Because of the immersive nature of this performance, seating is limited. Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Aug. 30, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Aug. 31* and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 1* in the Spring Theatre at the new TheatreSquared, located at 477 West Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville. Tickets are $22 and are available now at theatre2.org.
* Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 performances will include the opportunity to take part in a post-show conversation facilitated by Andrea Assaf, a writer, performer, director and cultural organizer who is founding artistic and executive director of Art2Action Inc. To learn more about Art2Action, visit art2action.org.
Cast & Creative Team
The cast and creative team for 10,000 Balconies is led by creator and director Kholoud Sawaf; co-deviser, dramaturg, and assistant director Laura Shatkus; and composer and musician Hadi Eldebek. The cast includes Ali Andre Ali, Mohamad Alrifay, Waseem Alzer, Noor Hamdi, Victoria Nassif, Anton Obeid, Sadieh Rifai, and Najat Arkadan Washington. The creative team also includes Kim Powers, scenic design; Sam Burrow, costume coordination; Emily Clarkson, lighting design; Asia-Anansi McCallum, sound design; Megan Reilly, projection design; and Ramzi El-edilbi, musician and choreographer.
Kholoud Sawaf, adapter and director, has been artist-in-residence with TheatreSquared since 2015. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, she has worked in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the United States. She directed T2’s production of Vietgone, and was instrumental in the company’s three-year grant award in support of the development of 10,000 Balconies from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in 2016. She is a recipient of the 2017 Classical Directing Fellowship from the Drama League in New York. Most recently, she assistant directed Vietgone at the Manhattan Theatre Club (Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow) and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, both under the direction of May Adrales. For TheatreSquared, she has also assistant directed eight plays including The Spiritualist, Great Expectations, Hamlet, All The Way, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Her upcoming projects include collaborating on a new piece, 12 Million Footsteps, with award-winning playwright/director Joe Calarco. She is an associate member with Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and a member with Nhna Cultural Club in Damascus, Syria.
The presentation and three-year development of 10,000 Balconies is made possible through a $250,000 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Building Bridges Program. This mission of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Additional support for student engagement with the production of 10,000 Balconies is provided by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas, a program of the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.