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New Steel Sculpture in Reston Town Center Delayed Until Spring

The Greater Reston Arts Center has pushed back the completion of a new 50-foot steel sculpture in Reston Town Center from this fall to spring 2019. 

Reston Now previously reported the installation and an opening ceremony were expected in August.

Now, the sculpture’s anticipated unveiling is set for spring after the project faced construction delays, Lily Siegel, executive director and curator of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), told Reston Now.

“As we embarked on [the project], things have shifted and got a little bit delayed,” she said.

Titled “Buoyant Force,” the sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican is inspired by the work of Kay Sage, an American surrealist who was known for her paintings of scaffolded structure and furled fabric in barren landscapes. GRACE previously featured Wrbican’s work last fall.

Currently, the sculpture is getting fabricated by two fabricators. The main 50-foot piece is getting welded together at one fabricator’s shop in Rockville Md.

Siegel said that the GRACE team has dropped in several times on the fabrication, describing the tall piece as reminiscent of scaffolding or the inside of a skyscraper. Even though the 50-foot piece is lying on the ground, “it’s very impressive,” she said. “The impact is pretty powerful.”

A second fabricator is making other steel structures that will get attached to the sculpture. Both sourced preexisting, pre-fabricated materials at Wrbican’s request. 

While the main work on the pieces is “pretty much done,” technical details still need finishing before installation. Once the pieces are on site, the installation will require a crane and boom lift, she said.

“Buoyant Force” marks Seigel’s first public sculpture — an undertaking that has taught her quite a bit throughout the process. For starters, the project initially planned to have one fabricator, before she decided the work required two people, she said.

“It’s taking a whole team of professionals to get this done,” Seigel said That team includes architects, inspectors, a concrete team, engineers, movers and — of course — the artist.

Seigel also took a new approach to fund the sculpture. For the first time, GRACE started a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs. Locals can donate online.

So far, the campaign raised about $50,000 — nearly half of the required funds — in roughly five months, she said. The Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, ArtsFairfax and Public Art Reston are some of the places that have donated.

Seigel said the “slow” fundraising efforts are not causing the delay.

Additionally, the architect, engineer, concrete company and transportation company are providing pro bono work — a donation of its own kind, she said.

Siegel said a community celebration to mark the grand opening will happen.

After that, she plans to host programming, including dance, poetry and education, around the sculpture, which is expected to be on view for five years. “We’re looking for different ways to bring the community back around the sculpture” with different perspectives, she said. “We are incredibly excited about this project.”

Images via Greater Reston Arts Center 

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Here’s a Breakdown for This Weekend’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

The 27th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is returning this weekend, and this year the festival is a day longer.

The festival will run Friday (May 18) through Sunday (May 20) at the Reston Town Center. The event encourages attendees to make a $5 donation, which comes with $200 worth of restaurant coupons.

The festival hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) brings in 30,000 to 50,000 attendees each year, the festival said in a press release.

For the first time, this year’s festival also includes a participatory performance “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul both Saturday night during the Festival Party and on Sunday afternoon. Another festival first, is that GRACE members are given a free ticket to the Festival Party. Cost for membership for artists is $40 and $50 for other members.

Rain or shine the festival will go on, so long as a major storm does not hit, one of the organizers told RestonNow.

Below is a breakdown of the three-day event:

Friday (May 18) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Festival Friday — There will be specials all day among retailers and restaurants in Reston Town Center

Saturday (May 19) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • Festival Party (7-9 p.m.) — A celebration for sponsors, Adopt-an-Artist donors, GRACE members and artists. The party includes an award ceremony and first look into “The Illuminated Fountain of
    Extinction” by Laure Drogoul.

Sunday (May 20) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul (1-3 p.m.) — an immersive, interactive artwork in the Pavillion that is a tableau of natural and post-natural creatures inspired by manuscripts. Viewers are encouraged to participate in the performance that shows off a pageant of creatures from the past, present and future.

Garage parking is free during the festival. No registration is required.

Photo Courtesy of Carol Nahorniak

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Dishing Up Tea and Dirt in Reston

Travel back in time next Thursday evening, May 17 as professional impersonator Elaine Flynn transforms into one of history’s most famous presidential offspring for “Tea With Alice Roosevelt Longworth” at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods.

“If the headlines of today’s political scandals make you shake your head in disbelief, wait until you witness impersonator Elaine Flynn dish the dirt on scandals of yesteryear,” describe event organizers.

Roosevelt Longworth was the eldest child of former President Theodore Roosevelt, and his only child with his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee. As a controversial writer and prominent socialite, Roosevelt Longworth is widely considered by many to be history’s first true “celebrity,” in every sense of the word.

As such, it’s no surprise that Roosevelt Longworth would have some very good gossip indeed, about the lives of the rich and famous around New York City and Washington, D.C. In fact, it’s rumored she first coined the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

Therefore, the theme of this event is “Scandals in the City.”

“Alice starts with her own scandals,” describe event organizers. “She then continues relating the scandals that led to the death of a Congressman; President Harding and his mistresses; the love affairs involving Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt; the person (other than Mamie) who REALLY liked Ike; the women linked to JFK; the Capitol Hill employee who couldn’t file, type or even answer the phone; and the story of the Congressman, Fannie Foxe and the Tidal Basin, and more.”

Registration for this special event in honor of Older Americans Month is $15 for Reston residents and $23 for non-residents. Tickets include afternoon tea and the performance.

The event is co-sponsored by Reston Community Center and the Reston Association and takes place from 1-4 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 at RCC-Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road. Register online.

Photo: Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), C0urtesy of the National Archives / Public Domain

 

 

 

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Mike Cloud to Discuss Upcoming ‘Figure Studies’ Exhibit

The Greater Reston Arts Center will be hosting the exhibit, “Mike Cloud: Figure Studies” from April 28 through July 7.

This is the first time Brooklyn-based artist Cloud will be showing his work in the greater D.C. area, according to the center. Cloud’s exhibit is described by the center as a selection of works that “consider language, symbolism, metaphor, history and identity through the examination of the figure.”

The exhibit based on a single painting “Cycle and Stable” (2015) features Cloud’s series of collages based on the work of photographer Anne Leibovitz and new paintings.

Cloud received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He will also host a talk on the opening day of his exhibit from 4-5 p.m. followed by an opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

There will be a private dinner with Cloud celebrating the exhibit. Tickets cost $100 for the public and $75 for GRACE members, board of directors and sponsors. Those interested must RSVP by emailing [email protected] by April 25.

Photo courtesy GRACE

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‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ Comes to Reston Community Center

Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” will be gracing the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage from March 9 through 24.

The play, performed by the Reston Community Players, tells the story of Brick Pollitt, an alcoholic and former high school football player, and his wife Maggie. When the two join the rest of the Pollitt family for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday, a story of survival and family dysfunction emerges at the Southern plantation.

“Cat is one of my favorite stage productions, and it is an honor to bring these characters to life at Reston,” said Sharon Veselic, who directs the show, in a press release. “While the story takes place in the 1950s, many of the dynamics of the personalities portrayed on stage are still relevant today. It’s a true classic.”

The show is presented through an arrangement with Dramatists Play Service on behalf of the Sewanee: The University of the South.

Tickets are $23. To purchase, contact the box office at 703-476-4500 or go online. The play is recommended for ages 16 and older for adult themes and brief nudity.

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Greater Reston Arts Center Wins Virginia ’50 For 50 Inspiration Award’

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) was recently selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) as a “50 For 50 Inspiration Award” winner.

From a pool of more than 350 nominees, GRACE was honored in the category of Bedrock Institutions, which recognizes organizations that have been around for more than 10 years and “have demonstrated a benefit to economic health and tourism in the local community.”

At the recent awards ceremony, attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE was also recognized for its artistic excellence, its celebration of diversity, and its work toward helping to make Virginia a “cultural destination.”

GRACE was one of only four organizations statewide to be recognized in this category.

“This is an incredibly proud moment for GRACE. To be in such rare company is humbling,” said Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. “All of us here view this as a real legacy award — one that honors the many people, fantastic partners and generous sponsors who, over GRACE’s 40-plus years, have made this iconic community institution what it is today.”

VCA planned the 50 For 50 Inspiration Awards to celebrate the commission’s anniversary — 50 examples of programs, individuals and organizations critical to the arts in Virginia, for the commission’s 50th anniversary.

“We are indeed fortunate in Virginia to have an abundant and diverse roster of outstanding artists and organizations and their supporters spanning disciplines and decades,” said Margaret Vanderhye, the commission’s executive director.

Commissioner Jo Hodgin added, “These awardees carry the banner for countless arts workers and supporters who use the arts to build a strong Virginia. We believe the arts are essential for a creative 21st-century workforce, economically dynamic communities and a culture based on wellness and accessibility.”

“I am very pleased to be moving GRACE forward on its vision to elevate the arts in the area by showcasing local and regional artists alongside artists of national and international reputations. We will continue to contribute and grow our importance and relevance in the Commonwealth and D.C. Metropolitan region,” Siegel said.

GRACE was founded in 1974. From its current headquarters at Reston Town Center, the organization hosts exhibitions, educational programming and special events year-round, including the annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Currently, an exhibition of the photography of Sue Wrbican, entitled “Well Past the Echo,” is on display at GRACE through Nov. 18.

GRACE is located at Reston Town Center at 12001 Market St., suite 103. Visit the organization online.

Image: (Left to right) Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE Board Chair Robert Goudie, VCA Executive Director Margaret Vanderhye, and GRACE Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. Photo credit: Michaele White

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Public Art Reston to Celebrate 10th Anniversary With Birthday Party

Public Art Reston is growing up! The organization will celebrate its foray into double digits by celebrating its 10th anniversary with a birthday party this Thursday night, and the public is invited.

The nonprofit organization, which aims to celebrate the fine art through starting a dialogue about public works and bringing more of them into existence throughout Reston, got its roots in 2007 as the Initiative For Public Art – Reston. As the group turns 10 years old, representatives say they are experiencing a rebirth of sorts, including changing the name to Public Art Reston.

The group has helped introduce many public works of art throughout the Reston community over the past 10 years, including sculptures, statues and other works, as well as hosted many art-inspired events that engage people of all ages and encourage them to create their own works of art.

“This year’s community’s events like ChalkFest at Reston Town Center and the Annual Reception will celebrate this milestone year and the impact that public art has made on the Reston community, and the future of public art in Reston,” representatives say.

The organization is currently hosting an exhibit about the legacy of public art in Reston, entitled “Reston: The Art of Community Exhibition,” through Nov. 26 at the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, 1639 Washington Plaza.

The birthday party this Thursday will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Aperture, 11410 Reston Station Blvd. The cost is $25 per person and includes light food and drinks. A string quartet from South Lakes High School will perform, as well as a DJ. A public art activity will be available for participants to take part in, as well as raffles and a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased online. Donations to the organization can also be made through Public Art Reston’s website.

Image: Convergence sculpture at Aperture apartments, sponsored by Public Art Reston / Credit: Reston Now.

Image: ChalkFest event hosted by Public Art Reston / Credit: Reston Now.

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New Reston Museum Exhibit Showcases Community’s Legacy of Public Art

A new Public Art Reston freestanding exhibition, developed in collaboration with the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, celebrates the community’s wide collection of outdoor sculptures and other public artworks.

Reston: The Art of Community” opened at the museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) on Saturday in conjunction with the 16th annual Reston Home Tour and in celebration of Public Art Reston’s 10th anniversary. It will remain on display through Sunday, Nov. 26. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, and is free to enter.

A reception to celebrate the exhibit is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26. The reception will be followed by free screenings of Peabody Award-winning director Rebekah Wingert Jabi’s “Fun, Beauty, Fantasy: Reston’s Public Art” and “A Bird in the Hand — Patrick Dougherty’s Sculptural Installation in Reston, VA” at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery of Reston Community Center Lake Anne (1609 Washington Plaza N.). A question-and-answer session will follow.

Reservations are encouraged for the exhibition reception and film screening. To RSVP, contact the Reston Historic Trust at 703-709-7700 or [email protected].

The programs are supported in part by the Reston Community Center. All proceeds benefit the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the past, informing the present, and influencing the future of Reston through its educational programming, archives and exhibitions.

Images courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

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Celebration to Close ‘A Bird in the Hand’ Sculpture in Reston Town Center Set for Saturday

“A Bird in the Hand,” a nest-like sculpture made from tree saplings in Reston Town Square Park, will get a celebratory send-off on Saturday ahead of its removal next week.

The 14-foot-high sculpture, which rests across from the Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St. #103), was created by artist Patrick Dougherty in 2015 using ash, hickory, red maple, oak and willow saplings.

The center will celebrate the art piece’s impact in creating an immersive, magical experience since its installation, according to a release by the center:

“The work’s popularity with adults and children has been manifested in thousands of games of tag and hide and seek played within its woody realm. This project was a communal, participatory experience both through its funding and installation. Sculptor Dougherty spent weeks on-site constructing the sculpture in tandem with a team of community volunteers who contributed enormously to the creation process.”

The celebration is free and will include projects involving sticks and nests, and dance performances sponsored by the Reston Community Center. Artists from Gin Dance Company and GroundShare Arts Alliance will perform dances connected to the sculpture and a documentary film about the sculpture by director Rebekah Wingert-Jabi will play all day in the GRACE gallery, according to the release.

The installation must be removed because it was created from harvest samplings, which typically last for roughly two years, said Erica Harrison, GRACE’s associate curator and festival director. Preliminary discussions are underway to determine what will replace the sculpture in the spring of next year, she said.

The center hopes to bring a new installation that culminates its exhibition of artist Sue Wrbican’s work. Her art, which examines the relationship between time and space, is on display at GRACE through Nov. 18.

Early sponsorships for the future art installation have been secured from the Reston Town Center Association and the Reston Community Center, Harrison said. Final project approval is pending.

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Reston Community Players Readying To Open New Season With ‘Aida’

The Reston Community Players’ 2017-18 season will open later this month with a performance of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.”

The show, winner of four Tony Awards, will be performed Oct. 20 to Nov. 11 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

According to information provided by Reston Community Players about the show:

This musical is popular and special because its story combines a tragedy of love and intriguing politics. Although set in Egypt centuries ago, theatergoers will experience the tension created by the forbidden love between a Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter. Sir Elton John, one of the most successful music artists in the modern era, composed Aida’s stirring music and the amazing Sir Tim Rice, who made his reputation writing hits like Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, wrote the lyrics. To the delight of audiences, they combined their talents to create Aida, Disney Theatrical Productions’ first Broadway musical for grown-ups.

The show will be performed Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. No show is scheduled Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets are available from the Reston Community Players website.

For more information, call 703-476-4500, ext. 3.

In its 51st season, Reston Community Players is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been producing high quality theatrical productions since 1966. RCP is partially funded by grants from Fairfax County, in cooperation with the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

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Chicano Rock Band Quetzal Kicks Off RCC Professional Touring Artist Series This Weekend

Reston Community Center’s 2017-18 Professional Touring Artist Series kicks off Sunday with a performance by Grammy Award-winning Chicano rock band Quetzal.

According to a description provided on the band’s website:

Quetzal is the collaborative project of Quetzal Flores (guitar), Martha González (lead vocals, percussion), Tylana Enomoto (violin), Juan Pérez (bass), Peter Jacobson (cello), and Alberto Lopez (percussion). The musical ensemble is influenced by an East L.A. rock soundscape composed of Mexican ranchera, cumbia, salsa, rock, R&B, folk and fusions of international musics, and also one whose political vision is based in social activism, feminism and the belief that there is radical potential in expressive culture. During the past two decades, the musical force of Quetzal has created a unique cultural platform that has sounded against conditions of oppression and marginalization. On the 20th anniversary of their first flight, Quetzal introduces us to another sphere of being, one that challenges us to reimagine human life in relation to the other forms of life that we are so often connected to and through.

Tickets for the show, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, are $20 for Reston residents and $30 for non-residents. The show will take place at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

The show is also in celebration of Hispanic American Heritage Month, according to information provided by RCC.

The full 2017-18 Professional Touring Artist Series runs through June 2.

“This series brings you musicians from Guinea and Ukraine, bands from Los Angeles and Chicago, the political climate of American’s National Parks and the climate change of Jurassic Park, not to mention a secret octopus,” said Paul Douglas Michnewicz, RCC’s director of arts and events. “The arts are a signature element of what makes Reston such a great place to be. We invite you to share these indelible experiences and see why art and community intertwine so beautifully in Reston.”

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New Public Art Piece Unveiled Outside Aperture Apartments Near Wiehle-Reston East

Reston’s newest piece of public art was unveiled Thursday evening in front of one of its newest luxury-living facilities.

“Convergence,” a bronze and stainless steel work that shows a human figure emerging from the lens of a camera, was debuted in front of a cheering crowd at Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.). The 11-foot-tall bronze sculpture, displayed at the intersection of Reston Station Boulevard and Metro Center Drive, was created by Reston-native artist Zachary Oxman. Oxman was also the sculptor of Lake Anne Plaza’s “Untold Stories” (aka “Bronze Bob”) and has had his work commissioned by DC officials and presented as diplomatic gifts.

“This opportunity is very unique and very special to me, because I do have such a strong connection to Reston,” Oxman said. “Public art has a unique way of not only adding visually to a community, but it also offers the opportunity to share stories about life and to inspire personal thought and reflection for those who experience the art.”

Oxman said “Convergence” tells a story about the “imperceptible and fragile point that exists between having an idea and actually pushing it forward and becoming a reality,” to which he drew parallels to Bob Simon’s vision for the community of Reston.

“Convergence” also keeps with the theme of photography that spawned Aperture’s name, said Chuck Veatch, president of the Charles A. Veatch Company.

“The pure scale and power of the work and its obvious — at least to me — depiction of the creative process and the art of photography … I was fascinated,” Veatch said of first seeing the piece at Oxman’s studio. “It needed a place of prominence.”

In addition to his commercial real-estate work, Veatch is chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine.

Bozzuto’s new seven-story building a stone’s throw from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station is slated for an official grand-opening in the spring, representatives said during Thursday’s art dedication. The apartments are now leasing.

For more photos from the event, visit Chip McCrea Photography.

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Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’ Will Be Next Show at NextStop Theatre Company

The Tony Award-winning musical “Assassins” is coming to NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive) next month.

The darkly comedic show, by Stephen Sondheim, will open Oct. 19 at the theater. It depicts presidential assassins throughout American history. According to information provided by NextStop, the show “has gained relevance of late” as “the show’s themes of anger over the unfulfilled promise of the American dream mirror a deeply divided country.”

“We started talking about producing this show before [President Donald] Trump was elected, but it was already clear that the political divisions in our country are very real and run very deep,” said Evan Hoffmann, producing artistic director, in a press release. “The show is even more relevant now that we see anger and resentment boiling over that was simmering beneath the surface.”

NextStop says audiences will get “a taste of several genres of music” along with the “non-traditional history lesson.” According to NextStop, it is part of their 2017-18 series to “build the bonds of community.” The theater is currently performing “Disgraced,” a play about Muslim assimilation and identity, through Oct. 1.

The cast of “Assassins” will include Andrew Adelsberger (as Charles Guiteau), Mikey Cafarelli (as John Hinckley Jr.), Brice Guerriere (as Giuseppe Zangara), Bobby Libby (as John Wilkes Booth), Katie McManus (as Sara Jane Moore), Mackenzie Newbury (as The Proprietor), John Sygar (as The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), Daniel Westbrook (as Leon Czolgosz), Jaclyn Young (as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme) and Alex Zavistovich (as Samuel Byck). Megan Adrielle, Madeline Cuddihy, Jason Hentrich and Colton Needles are also members of the ensemble. The production is directed by D.C. artist Jay D. Brock.

The creative team also includes Bryan Lilley (music director), Christie Graham (assistant director), J.D. Madsen (set designer), Kristina Martin (costume designer), Catherine Girardi (lighting designer), Laura Moody, (stage manager), Jade Brooks-Bartlett (props coordinator/assistant stage manager), Marilyn Lopes (costume apprentice), Quoc Tran (assistant stage manager/sound mixer/fight choreographer) and Jonathan Abolins (master electrician).

Performances of “Assassins” will be Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 19-Nov. 12. General admission tickets start at $20, and may increase to $60 depending on performance popularity. Tickets are available online at www.nextstoptheatre.org or by calling 866-811-4111.

“Assassins” is one of a pair of shows planned at NextStop about the office of the presidency. In January, “45 Plays for 45 Presidents” will open, and NextStop says it will “provide a lighthearted counterpoint” to “Assassins.”

Photos courtesy Lock & Company

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Photos and Results: Fourth Annual ChalkFest at Reston Town Center

ChalkFest took place this weekend on Market Street at Reston Town Center, and here are winners:

Professional Artists
1st Place: Abigail Lockhart (pictured at right, top)
2nd Place: Penny Hauffe (pictured at right, bottom)
3rd Place: Amanda Brown

Amateur Artists
1st Place: Leah Culbert
2nd Place: Charity Rissler
3rd Place: Sonja and Mona Hakala

Families and Kids
1st Place: Payton So
2nd Place: Omer Aru
3rd Place: Michelle Cliff

Winners were judged based on criteria including originality, craftsmanship, composition, use of space, presentation and degree of difficulty.

In addition to the judged results, the audience was tasked with voting for their favorite pieces of art. Visitors’ favorites were:

Audience Choice Award
1st Place: Aradhita and Uddipta Sarka
2nd Place: Colin Muir and Victoria Doose
3rd Place: Abigail Lockhart

Prizes for winning designs ranged from $40 to $1,000.

ChalkFest at Reston Town Center is presented annually by Public Art Reston.

Images via Public Art Reston on Facebook.

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

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.

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