Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced”, directed by Michael Najjar.
Articles, Essays, Volume 4

On Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced

On Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced 
By Torange Yeghiazarian 
Arab Stages, Volume 2, Number 2 (Spring 2016)
©2016 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publication

“I can’t help but feel conflicted when I hear Muslim audience members outraged at the way they feel they are being represented on stage, and hearing other audience members (mostly white) continuously quoting the universality of the play. I just can’t help thinking the privilege that lies in being able to see the play as universal, especially when you are not the one being represented on stage…… And I wonder who is this play really serving when the voices of those who feel they have been robbed of a great opportunity to redeem their diverse and rich cultures to wide audiences are being overwhelmed by applause and standing ovations and rave reviews.“  – See more at: http://howlround.com/universality-in-disgraced-by-ayad-akhtar-does-the-intent-justify-the-impact#sthash.lqdWiEUe.dpuf

I am a playwright, a director and producer. I grew up in a predominantly Muslim country, and have for the past 35 years lived in the US, a country that has been bombing predominantly Muslim countries for the last 20 years. Of course our relatively liberal administration reminds us that we’re not at war with Muslims. Which begs the question, who are we at war with? But that’s another story. Naturally, when a play like Disgraced comes along that garners the kind of national attention unprecedented for any other play with a Muslim man as its lead character, we ask why? Many brilliant colleagues have written informative articles about the play which I recommend reading. Chief among them is Arlene Martínez-Vázquez’ comprehensive and thoughtful analysis published in HowlRound, quoted above. While I acknowledge the challenges of producing Disgraced in the US in these times, I actually see the play as a step forward. Here, I attempt to explain why.

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