Jun 8, 2017
Jun 25, 2017

My Heart is in the East

Written by Jessica Litwak
Performed by Jessica Litwak & Raji Ahsan

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Inspired by Ancient Cordoba, My Heart is in the East is a duet between a Jewish American woman and an Iraqi Muslim man. Bound together by circumstance, these two people from such different walks of life confront their insecurities, fears, and desires. Exploring these tensions through puppetry and poetry, the play is a humorous, passionate and poetic exploration of history as a model for peace building.

Each performance will be followed by an opportunity for the audience to try their hand at poetry composition and a dynamic guided discussion about interfaith issues, featuring noted scholars, journalists, and cultural and civic leaders.

Raji Ahsan* (Man’s Voice/Man/Ishamel) is a New York-based actor; Selected theatre: Vigneshwar Paduar or “VP” in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. He received his BFA from NYU/Tisch in 2013 where he studied with Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, SNL, et al.), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), and many others.  Raji hosts a talk show, Making Brews and Paying Dues, found on YouTube; guests include Stacy London, Nick Onken, and others.  During the quiet moments, Raji teaches voice and speech work to anyone looking to know his or her sound more intimately.  All the love to Mom & Gram; gratitude to Danny; for my mentor John.  Proud Equity Member! ig/twitter: @rajiahsan

Jessica Litwak* (Playwright, Actor), Ph.D., is a playwright, actor, educator and activist. She is a Registered Drama Therapist, a trained practitioner of Playback, Psychodrama, Sociodrama and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective (www.heatcollective.org) and the New Generation Theatre Ensemble, (www.ngte.org) Litwak’s written work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krause, No Passport Press and The New York Times. She has taught theatre and performed at Many theatres and universities in the U.S. as well as in Iraq, Lebanon, India, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Hungary, Eqypt, the U.K. and at La MaMa Umbria. Litwak is a core member of Theatre Without Borders and is a Fulbright Scholar.

Jen Wineman (Director) is a director/choreographer based in Brooklyn. Her work has been seen at theaters in New York and across the country. Off Broadway: F#%king Up Everything. New York: Fable (NYMF), The King’s Whore (Walkerspace); Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen] (Ars Nova). Touring Productions: Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Asolo Repertory Theatre). Regional: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Asolo Rep) Sweeney Todd (Playmakers Rep); The 39 Steps, Shipwrecked (Triad Stage); The Hunchback of Seville (Washington Ensemble Theatre); Bubble Boy (American Theater Group); Aloha Say the Pretty Girls (Theatre Vertigo). Jen is a co-founder and the former co-artistic director of Studio 42, a New York City-based company that from 2001-2015, produced “unproducible” plays by emerging playwrights. She has taught at Vassar College, Ithaca College, SUNY Purchase, and is on the faculty at Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts in New York City. Up next is Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville for the Dorset Theatre Festival. Education/Training: B.A. Vassar College, M.F.A. Yale School of Drama.

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Special Event


Stay after each performance for an interactive special poetry composition

Thursday, June 8
David Diamond
Theater Professional | More Info

Friday, June 9
Cindy Cooper

Saturday, June 10
Yonit Freedman

Sunday, June 11
Catherine Filloux
Playwright on Human Rights | More Info

Thursday, June 15
Cobina Gillitt
Freelance Dramaturg & Translator

Friday, June 16
Raymond Scheindlin
Expert on Cordova & Poetry Translator

Saturday, June 17
Esther Farmer
Jewish Voice for Peace Member

Sunday, June 18
Robina Niaz
Turning Point for Women and Families Founder

Thursday, June 22
Lana Povitz
Jewish Voice for Peace Member

Saturday, June 24
Tom Block

Sunday, June 25
Stacey Linnartz & Karen Malpeded
Theatre Professionals