Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) introduces a celebrated Middle Eastern voice to the Bay Area with the West Coast premiere of Wajdi Mouawad’s haunting play, SCORCHED. After receiving more than 100 productions in several languages worldwide, the Lebanese-Canadian writer’s new play will be directed at A.C.T. by Artistic Director Carey Perloff in a beautiful translation from the original French by distinguished Canadian author Linda Gaboriau. Leading the cast is David Strathairn. Recipient of both an Emmy and Golden Globe Award, Strathairn garnered an Oscar nomination for his performance as “Edward R. Murrow” in Good Night, and Good Luck.” His familiar film and television roles include “Pierce Patchett” in L.A. Confidential (1997), “Jumpin’ Joe Gastineau” in Limbo (1999), “Robert Wegler” on The Sopranos, “William Flynn” in No God, No Master (2011), and “Dr. Lee Rosen” on Alphas.
The plot of Scorched concerns a set of twins, Janine and Simon, are given two letters following their mother’s death which contain clues about their family’s mysterious past. They embark on an unforgettable journey to the Middle East in search of the father and brother they never knew they had. Scorched weaves its riveting mystery into a captivating tapestry, inviting us to slowly unravel an astonishing truth amidst chaos and conflict. Scorched opens Wednesday, February 22nd and plays through Friday, March 16th at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Scorched
David Strathairn and Babak Tafti. Photo, Kevin Berne
“Scorched continues our deep relationship with the cutting edge of Canadian theater, and brings the turmoil and tribalism of the Middle East to the forefront for the first time at A.C.T.,” says Perloff. This riveting play has entranced audiences across the globe and was turned into a feature film with the title Incendies, which was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Perloff adds, “Mouawad is a major new writer whose work is acclaimed internationally but relatively unknown in the United States; A.C.T. is thrilled to introduce him to the Bay Area. Scorched is a Greek tragedy for our time, incredibly imaginative and provocative, and will be brought to life at A.C.T. by a company of remarkable Middle Eastern actors as well as four of our amazing core acting company members and the incomparable David Strathairn, whose deep humanity and self-deprecating wit will form the lens through which we witness this moving and surprising story.”
Strathairn plays bumbling notary public “Alphonse Lebel”, who acts as a guide to the two twins as they try to unearth the truth about their family. The Emmy Award winner last appeared on the A.C.T. stage as “Prospero” in The Tempest, which was the inaugural production at the American Conservatory Theater after it re-opened in 1996 following the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Strathairn has a long-standing artistic relationship with Perloff, having appeared in numerous Classic Stage Company productions in New York City when she was leading the institution. A.C.T. core acting company member Annie Purcell and Babak Tafti play the twins at the heart of the story, tracing the mystery of their mother, played at various ages by Marjan Neshat and Jacqueline Antaramian. They are joined by Apollo Dukakis and members of A.C.T.’s core acting company Manoel Felciano, Nick Gabriel, and Omozé Idehenre.
David Straithairn, Carey Perloff and Anthony Fusco – “Pursuing Pinter”
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