Hazem Shammas (Belvoir’s The Tribe) and Kat Stewart (Offspring, The Speechmaker) star in Disgraced, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play that fearlessly puts contemporary politics and religion under the microscope. Written by Ayad Akhtar, this brilliant and complex drama opens on Thursday 25 August at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio, before touring to Geelong Performing Arts Centre and Queensland Theatre Company.
Directed by Nadia Tass, the impressive cast also features Mitchell Butel (Belvoir’s Angels in America), Kane Felsinger (Neighbours) and Zindzi Okenyo (STC’s The Golden Age, Masquerade).
Director Nadia Tass said, ‘For me, this is a story of our new world – of one man wrestling with his Islamic roots and the consequences of denial and suppression. As Ayad Akhtar’s emotionally charged scenario explodes before our very eyes, we see the veneer of social nicety stripped away to reveal that little has changed, and racism, infidelity, ambition and self-loathing loom large. It is a fine piece of relevant, insightful writing that I am proud to present to a Melbourne audience.’
Amir is an American living the American Dream. On track to make partner in his law firm, he lives with his artist wife Emily in their spacious Upper East Side apartment, where occasionally they’ll throw a dinner party. Tonight’s guests are Jory, a work colleague, and her husband, Isaac, an art dealer, and, with so much in common, the conversation flows easily. Then, as it inevitably does in today’s conflicted America, the topic turns to race, religion and identity. Now, how quickly things fall apart.
Ayad Akhtar is an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His book American Dervish has been published in over twenty languages worldwide and was named Best Book of the Year by a number of publications in 2012. His plays include Disgraced, which premiered in New York in 2012 and won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and The Who & The What. For The War Within, Ayad was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.
Nadia Tass is an internationally acclaimed Australian film, TV and theatre director. For MTC she has directed The Other Place, Summer of the Aliens, Cosi and Miss Bosnia. Her other theatre credits include Promises for The Production Company; The Aliens, The Gronholm Method, Out of the Water and The Flick for Red Stitch; and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which toured Australia and New Zealand and was honoured with a 2003 nomination for Best Direction of a Musical. She first gained recognition as a director for her internationally acclaimed feature film, Malcolm. Her other film credits include Rikky and Pete, The Big Steal, Mr Reliable, and Amy. Together, Nadia’s films have garnered over 50 international awards. In 2011 Nadia was honoured with the Best Director award at Milan International Film Festival for Matching Jack, where the film also received Best Film and Best Screenplay awards.
The role of Emily performed by Kat Stewart for MTC’s season of Disgraced will be performed by Libby Munro for the Queensland Theatre Company season
Cast Mitchell Butel, Kane Felsinger, Zindzi Okenyo, Hazem Shammas, Kat Stewart
Director Nadia Tass
Set Designer Shaun Gurton
Costume Designer Jill Johanson
Lighting Designer Nigel Levings
Composition & Sound Design Russell Goldsmith & Daniel Nixon
Voice & Dialect Coach Suzanne Heywood
Assistant Director Benjamin Schostakowski
‘A sparkling and combustible contemporary drama.’ Bloomberg News
‘Bristles with wit and intelligence.’ The New York Times
Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio
19 August – 1 October
Thursday 25 August, 8pm
Cast and Artist Q&A
Monday 15 August, 6pm