Sneak Preview Review: DISGRACED

by Lynn on April 8, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Panasonic Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Written by Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Robert Ross Parker
Set and Costumes by Sue LePage
Lighting by Rebecca Picherack
Starring: Raoul Bhaneja
Karen Glave
Ali Momen
Michael Rubenfeld
Birgitte Solem

A hard hitting play about race, religion, racism, relationships and stereotyping.

Amir Kapoor is a Pakistani-American lawyer who is living the dream of success with his artist wife, Emily who is blonde and white. He has turned his back on Islam and just wants to focus on moving up the corporate ladder in hopes of making partner in his law firm.

Emily, on the other hand, is an artist who admires Islamic art, its history and what it has contributed to the form. Her paintings are focused on this kind of art. They are supportive of each other.

But matters change when they invite Isaac, an important art curator and his African-American wife Jory, for dinner. Isaac is Jewish. Emily hopes Isaac will use her art work in a show he is creating. Jory works in the same law firm as Amir.

Matters go from cordial to combative when Amir’s beliefs are challenged; when stereotypes are introduced; when the Koran and its meaning are cited and misinterpreted which leads to more heated debate.

Amir’s world is spiralling out of control.

Ayad Akhtar has written a bracing, challenging, incendiary play that tests our assumptions and presumptions about Islam, Muslims, race, religion stereotyping and marriage.

The production begins quietly and slowly, steadily builds in emotion and conviction as Amir tries to get a grip on what is happening. It’s a terrific production. Raoul Bhaneja as Amir is commanding, confident, appropriately abrasive and slow to rise to a challenge, but when he does, it’s explosive and devastating.

Full review to follow shortly.

Raoul Bhaneja and Birgitta Solem will be interviewed on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89. 5 fm April 8, at 9 am

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