They say a play (The Marriage of Figaro) was the first act of the French Revolution; they say the sound of the trees being chopped down at the end of The Cherry Orchard announced the Russian Revolution. So can a play change people’s minds? The producers of what promises to be Melbourne’s most talked-about new play this year certainly hope so.
Written by prize-winning playwright David George and award-winning director Helen Trenos, Islamophilia is dedicated to the proposition that “we can do something about it.” About what…? About seeing a whole people as our enemies who want to do us harm. About finding ourselves trapped into rejecting a whole religion and its centuries-old culture because it has been hijacked by extremists with anger in their hearts and violence in their eyes. About feeling powerless, helpless, a victim in all this.
How did it happen? How did Islam become reduced to a political movement which in turn became dominated by crude slogans and misinterpretations of its own Word? The characters of Islamophilia are determined to put up a fight and set the record straight. Daanish, the convert, Freddy the poet, Shadan, an Iranian (or as she prefers Persian) migrant, artist and inspiration, Fariz, the young hotshot Muslim intellectual and Aisha, the ‘blue flower’…
How will the Islamic community feel about this? Hanifa Deen (former Commissioner for Human Rights, Board of Directors of SBS, Editor of Sultana’s Dream and winner of NSW Premier’s Literary Award), writes: “I am impressed by the solid research undertaken and the kind of Islam the writers depict—one not often seen in Australia, or read about in a world dominated by images of terror and hate… Their play shows a face of modern Islam rarely seen, including an intriguing convert perspective and love story. The cultural mix of the characters adds an authenticity to this drama about the new ‘Romantics’ of Islam bent on offering art, beauty and tolerance—against the odds. This is really a cutting edge drama that deserves a wide audience.”
Director Helen Trenos has performed with some of Australia’s leading theatre companies and in Neighbours and Blue Heelers. She holds a Ph. D. and is author of a book on Creativity and Acting. David George’s plays and productions have been a cutting edge in intercultural theatre and have been performed all over Australia and in Russia, Korea, Indonesia, the United States.
For more visit islamophilia.info