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Play About Muslim Assimilation, Identity Opens Thursday at NextStop Theatre Company

by RestonNow.com — September 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm 33 Comments

NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) is hoping to spark open dialogue about Muslim assimilation and identity in America with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Disgraced,” which opens Thursday.

According to a press release from NextStop, several recent incidents have made this an issue of great relevance locally:

Not only did a viral video of an anti-Islam encounter in a Reston grocery store recently sweep the internet, with more than 3 million viewers watching the shocking incident, but the family of a recently murdered [Reston] teen believes their daughter was targeted because of her religion. Additionally, incidents of vandalism have also shaken residents recently, with the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center being targeted and graffiti found on a highway wall of Baron Cameron Drive near Fairfax County Parkway espousing hate messages.

In the play, “Amir” (portrayed by Jesse Bhamrah) is a Pakistani-American who has hidden his Muslim background as he finds success as a Manhattan corporate lawyer. He struggles with his identity and America’s complex attitudes about Muslims and Islam throughout the play.

“This is an opportunity to have conversations with people about identity and open up and explore who you are,” said Thembi Duncan, the play’s director, in the release. “That doesn’t necessarily sound pretty in marketing language, but you’re learning more about yourself by seeing these other people … and the only way that we move forward as a society is by making human connections across lines of difference.”

In addition to Bhamrah, the cast includes other professional actors from the DC area including Nahm Darr, Jordan Friend, Chaela Phillips and Jenna Rossman. The production team includes Jack Golden, set designer; Kristina Martin, costume designer; Jonathan Alexander, lighting designer; Kevin Alexander, sound designer; Keta Newborn, stage manager; Jessica Dubish, assistant director; Cheyanne Christopher, assistant stage manager; Marilyn Lopes, costume design apprentice; Jonathan Abolins, master electrician; and Kristin Pilgrim, fight choreographer.

Performances will be each Thursday through Sunday, through Oct. 1, with general admission tickets ranging from $17.50 to $55. The show contains adult language and situations that may not be appropriate for all audiences.

  • AlohaSnackBar

    What act of the play shows them throwing “infidels’ that make “immoral” life choice like their choice in life partner off a roof? Or the whole ‘modesty’ because you know men can’t contain themselves?

    Or the part about how their prophet was hitched to a thirteen year old girl?

    • Mike M

      You have voiced unauthorized objective observations of fact. Your comment will be destroyed in five, . . . , four, . . . three, . . . two . . .

      • Thomas Day

        You’re both idiots. Please leave Reston.

        • The Constitutionalist

          How very tolerant and inclusive of you. A great example for all to follow.

          • Thomas Day

            Hatred and bigotry should never be tolerated.

          • Mike M

            You missed the irony of your own statement?

          • The Constitutionalist

            Neither should facts, according to you. You should only tolerate the hateful bigots that the hateful bigots that you hate hate.

        • Rick

          Hate has no home here Thomas

        • AlohaSnackbar

          In the Sudan (Islam), Iran (Islam), Qatar (Islam), UAE (Islam), Afghanistan (Islam) it is punishable by death. I refer you to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_by_country_or_territory

          So I would say that while you may feel (facts > feelings) that this is hurtful, it’s truthful.

          • IllegallyLivingInReston

            Ah, I forgot that the US follows the laws of those nations. Well, at least LBGT individuals can find solace in the fact that 80% Christian nations, like Zimbabwe, will still murder them.

          • Mike M

            Classic LibT response. “We are not perfect, so let us condemn ourselves to accept institutional and unmitigated evil in others.” Classic! And you argument is even weaker because you are talking about Zimbabwe and not the US. Very odd.

          • RestonAssurance

            Those are countries that incentivize and harbor extremists using the same false news propaganda that we use here. Using them as an example of Islam in America is like them using David Koresh’s Branch Davidians, Warren Jeffs’ FLDS, Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple, and Tim McVeigh. They’re not a representational norm. Undoubtedly psychotic, but still outliers.

        • Mike M

          Thanks for your thoughtful and erudite reply.

          • Adrian Havill

            You probably can’t afford a ticket anyhow, but do continue to make nasty complaints. They’re free.

          • Frank

            It they’re free how would he not be able to afford a ticket

          • The Constitutionalist

            I love what you spew when your brain can’t come up with good comebacks, insults, and God forbid the possibility of an educated, thoughtful response.

            Call him poor. lol. I would ask if you were trying, but it’s clear from previous discussion, you are.

            Kudos to you for doing your best.

          • Adrian Havill

            Complaining about a theatrical event without seeing it or even reading the script leads one to conclude that the complainers either can’t afford the ticket or are so consumed with hate for a religion that they will walk to the other side of the street to avoid a different view.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Hahahahahaha. So when someone complains about a brand of orange juice before they’ve tried or read the nutrition label, does it lead you to believe that they can’t afford it or that they’re so consumed with hate for a specific brand of orange juice that they will walk across the street to Whole Foods and squeeze their own?

            Sorry, I was getting caught up in my non-sequitur.

          • Adrian Havill

            Possibly. I know you like to troll the internet all day and try to get the last word in while cowardly using a pseudonym but I have many tasks to do. Rant away and use as many haha blurbs as you can along with as many false analogies as you can muster. Have a great weekend.

          • Greg

            Getting hurricane prepped, perhaps? Or preaching hate? Or your sanctified version of trolling?

            Adrian Havill said:

            Uh, I live in Florida. Orlando, actually. Still, am actually looking forward to Mar-A-Lago being trashed…”

            #smfh

          • Mike M

            Probably has a HHNHH sign in the yard.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Ah, the concession of defeat. Me – infinity, everyone else – zero.

          • Mike M

            Insightful response. HHNHH?

    • RestonAssurance

      With every religion there are trifling extremists, and sects or cults or even countries that operate in this manner under tyrants; however, I don’t see the majority of Muslims in America being that way. I suppose your same comments could be said about a Christian play, but most Christians aren’t extremists either.

  • Conservative Senior

    ” the family of a recently murdered [Reston] teen believes their daughter was targeted because of her religion”. The Police have said that it was not a hate crime. The crime was committed by a Central American crazy person, maybe an illegal.

  • Thembi Duncan

    Hi, All! Your comments = the main reason why I wanted to direct this play. In my work, I choose to use theatre to spark a much-needed clarifying conversation about race, religion, and other elements of group identity that can often divide us and cheat us out of important (and often life-saving) human connections with one another. However, I prefer that we use this discourse to seek empathy and understanding from one another, vs. just clapping back and forth over the Internet. That said, if you come see this Sunday’s matinee of DISGRACED, (12:30pm), there will be a post-show discussion where you’ll have an opportunity to share your thoughts in person. I am a HUGE fan of in-person exchanges, as they force us to confront each other’s humanity and not hide behind the anonymity of an ISP. The play is 1 hour and 24 minutes with no intermission, and I promise that it’ll be a thought-provoking experience.

    • AlohaSnackBar

      When you say ‘exchange’, does that mean calling me a racist/biggot/xenophobe or having a discussion. I’d love to have the one and not the other.

      • Thembi Duncan

        I prefer intelligent discourse to name-calling, so let’s go with the latter.

        • Mike M

          I do not believe you.

    • Mike M

      “Hiding behind an ISP”? Why can’t you have an intelligent discussion here. Why do you need to know people’s names? Why is that?

      • AlohaSnackBar

        So they can name and shame anyone that doesn’t agree.

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