Thursday, January 24, 2008

Provocative and Daring, Language Rooms by Yussef El Guindi is Selected for ACT’s 2008 New Play Award

Two Staged Readings, March 7-8

2008 New Play Award Reading

Language Rooms by Yussef El Guindi

Directed by Kurt Beattie

March 7-8, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.



No reservations required; seating is first come, first served

ACT Theatre

Ticket Office: (206) 292-7676

700 Union Street, Seattle WA 98101

Seattle, WA – January 23, 2008 – Local playwright Yussef El Guindi has been named ACT’s 2008 New Play Award winner for his new work Language Rooms. ACT will present two staged readings, followed by post-play discussions with the playwright and director, FREE to the public, on March 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. in its Bullitt Cabaret space.

Language Rooms is a play about an Arab-American interrogator at a Guantanamo-like facility whose loyalty comes into question when he is faced with the challenge of interrogating his father.

A provocative, dark, often funny investigation of the complex inner life of people who must live dangerously for what they think is the greater good, Language Rooms is an exciting and completely unpredictable reflection of the United States’ uneasy relationship with the Middle East,” said ACT’s Artistic Director Kurt Beattie. “The play asks, in a new and utterly fresh way, what it means to be an American citizen, particularly when the questioner is an Arab-American.”

Language Rooms is the third play awarded as a part of the New Play Award program, sponsored by Eulalie M. and Carlo Scandiuzzi. The Scandiuzzi sponsorship provides for an annual national call for submissions playwriting competition, in which the winner receives $2,500 and the opportunity to workshop the play, including the presentation of two public staged readings at ACT. Mitzi’s Abortion by Elizabeth Heffron, produced at ACT as a part of its 2006 mainstage season, was the first New Play Award winner in 2005.

Language Rooms is directed by Kurt Beattie and will feature Khanh Doan (Esther), John Farrage (Nasser), Ray Gonzalez (Ahmed), William Hall, Jr. (Kevin) and a fifth actor to be announced.

Yussef El Guindi’s most recent production was Back of the Throat, winner of the 2004 Northwest Playwright’s Competition held by Theater Schmeater. It won LA Weekly’s Excellence in Playwrighting Award for 2006. It was also nominated for the 2006 American Theater Critics Association’s Steinburg/New Play Award, and was voted Best New Play of 2005 by the Seattle Times. It was first staged by San Francisco’s Thick Description and Golden Thread Productions; then later presented in various theaters around the country including The Flea Theater in New York. Another play of his, Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith, staged by Silk Road Theatre Project, won the After Dark Award for Best New Play in Chicago, 2006. His two-related one-acts, Acts of Desire, were staged by the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. Back of the Throat, and those two related one-acts, now titled, Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda’s and Karima’s City, have been published by Dramatists Play Service. Guindi holds a Master of Fine Arts from Carnegie-Mellon University and was playwright-in-residence at Duke University.

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