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“A vibrant culture-clash drama simmering with humor.” — Associated Press
Brilliant novelist Zarina is writing about women and Islam when she meets Eli, a young convert who bridges the gap between her modern life and traditional heritage. When her conservative father discovers her controversial manuscript, they all must confront the beliefs that define them. A fierce and funny new play about relationships, religion, and the contradictions that make us who we are, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the blockbuster hit Disgraced.
Approximate run time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, including one 10-minute intermission.
“I am so excited to share the loving and thorny tale of Zarina’s family with Boston audiences. Disgraced at the Huntington was a very gratifying experience for me, and I am so honored this play will be part of next season.” — Ayad Akhtar
“After last season’s provocative hit Disgraced I am looking forward to having another story by Ayad Akhtar brought to life on our stage. The Who & the What provides a unique, vitally important look into the Muslim American experience through the lens of faith and family.”— Peter DuBois
Join us in the rehearsal hall for the first day of The Who & the What.
Enjoy a series of brief interviews with The Who & the What cast members Joseph Marrella (Eli), Turna Mete (Mahwish), and Aila Peck (Zarina).
Rom Barkhordar ives and works in Chicago where he was recently seen in the title role of Vanya, or that's life (Rasaka Theatre Company), Semitic Commonwealth, a month long intensive staged reading series and Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising), Ayad Akhtar's The Who & the What (Victory Gardens Theater), In a Garden (Red Orchid Theatre, Jeff Award nomination for Best Actor), Around the World in 80 Days (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Elephant Man (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Hollow Lands (Steep Theatre), Mother Courage and her Children (Vitalist Theatre), and Pravda (TimeLine Theatre), to name a few.
Joseph Marrella previously appeared in The Who & the What at the Huntington. He has regional credits that include Shear Madness (Charles Street Playhouse), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play; Death of Salesman; Big River; and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Lyric Stage Company), Twelfth Night (Summer Festival Theater), Story TimePreservation Hour (New Exhibition Room), and Tales of Poe (New Repertory Theatre on tour).
Turna Mete previously appeared in The Who & the What at the Huntingotn. She has Off Broadway credits that include Soldier X (Ma-Yi Theater Company), The Parable Conference (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Triple Threat and Asking for Trouble (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and Looking at Christmas, Office Hours, and The Great Recession (The Flea Theater).
Aila Peck was last seen at Huntington in The Who & the What and the workshop performance of The Mirror by Yasmeen Emam, one of the works included in Rebekah Maggor’s anthology The Tahrir Tales: Plays from the Egyptian Revolution. Other Boston theatre credits include Yerma (Huntington Summer Workshop) and Brahman/I: A One Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show (Company One Theatre).
Ayad Akhtar is the author of Disgraced which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play for its Broadway run, and was produced at the Huntington in its 2015-2016 season. He is a novelist and author of American Dervish, published in over 20 languages worldwide. His plays The Who & the What and The Invisible Hand received Off Broadway runs and are currently being produced around the world, and his play Junk will be produced on Broadway this fall. Mr. Akhtar was listed as the most produced playwright for the 2015-2016 season by American Theatre magazine.
M. Bevin O'Gara is the Associate Producer at the Huntington Theatre Company and directed The Who & the What, Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production) and Melinda Lopez's Becoming Cuba. Other directing credits include appropriate, A Future Perfect, Tribes (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best Production), and Clybourne Park (SpeakEasy Stage Company), Brahman/i, Chronicles of Kalki; You for Me for You; Love Person; and The Pain and the Itch (Company One Theatre), Phedre (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Fast Company (Lyric Stage Company), Marjorie Prime (Nora Theatre Company), How Soft the Lining and Translations (Bad Habit Productions), Matt and Ben (Central Square Theater), Two Wives in India and Gary (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), 2.5 Minute Ride (New Repertory Theatre), Melancholy Play (Holland Productions), Tattoo Girl, Painting You, and Artifacts (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop), and ANTI-KISS (3 Monkeys Theatrical Productions). She is the recipient of the Lois Roach Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Boston Theatre Community from Company One Theatre. She has a BFA from Boston University in theatre studies. This summer she will be moving to Ithaca, New York to become the Producing Artistic Director of the Kitchen Theatre Company.
Cristina Todesco previously designed Circle Mirror Transformation (one of the three plays she designed in the Shirley Vermont Play Festival), The Long and Winding Road, and The Atheist for the Huntington. Recent designs include The Winter’s Tale(Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Alice In War (The Boston Conservatory), A Number (New Repertory Theatre), Appropriate (SpeakEasy Stage Company), and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Company One Theatre).
Mary Lauve designed the costumes for the Huntington’s production of The Who & the Whatand Can You Forgive Her? and has collaborated with other designers in over seventy productions as the company’s resident assistant. Recent regional designs include The Winter’s Tale and Phedre (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Tribes and Clybourne Park (SpeakEasy Stage Company), and Intimate Apparel (Brandeis University). Ms. Lauve studied theatre at Boston College and Emerson College, and design at The Art Institute of Boston.
Annie Wiegand previously designed lights for The Who & the What at the Huntington. She is a freelance lighting designer who happens to be Deaf. She previously lit several shows with Boston University’s School of Theatre including Trumpery and Lizzie Stranton - Class of 2010. She assisted on the Broadway production of Spring Awakening (Tony Award nomination, Best Lighting Design). Other New York credits include Movements of the Soul(Baruch Performing Arts Center) and Square Peg, Round Hole (Tectonic Theatre Project, Lighting Design Associate).
M.L. Dogg previously designed The Who & the What, Milk Like Sugar, after all the terrible things I do, Smart People, The Power of Duff, Captors, Sons of the Prophet, and Rapture, Blister, Burn at the Huntington. His Broadway credits include Oh, Hello on Broadway and The Pee-wee Herman Show, and his Off Broadway designs include The Moors, Fade, The Ultimate Beauty Bible, Aubergine, Mercury Fur, Permission, Little Children Dream of God, Jacuzzi, A Walk in the Woods, Here Lies Love (co-design), The Open House, Core Values, Modern Terrorism, Sons of the Prophet, The Lapsburgh Layover, All New People, Trust, Monstrosity, The Language of Trees, Boom, A Hard Heart, and transFigures.
Saraswathi Jones previously created original music for The Who & the What at the Huntington. She is a Boston musician and purveyor of postcolonial pop. Her work draws from the well of South Asian history, culture, and aesthetics and reflects on life in immigrant America.
Alaine Alldaffer is also the casting director for Playwrights Horizons, where her credits include Grey Gardens (also for Broadway), Clybourne Park (also for Broadway), and Circle Mirror Transformation (Drama Desk and Obie Awards for Best Ensemble and an Artios Award for casting).
Carola Morrone LaCoste has previously worked on The Who & the What, August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned, Becoming Cuba, Ryan Landry’s M, Now or Later, Luck of the Irish, Before I Leave You, Educating Rita, Vengeance is the Lord’s, Prelude to a Kiss, Becky Shaw, All My Sons, Boleros for the Disenchanted, Two Men of Florence and Pirates! for the Huntington.
Jeremiah Mullane returns to the Huntington having previously stage managed The Who & the What, A Doll's House, Tiger Style!, August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned, Disgraced, Choice, The Second Girl, Awake and Sing!, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Seagull, The Cocktail Hour, The Jungle Book, and Invisible Man.
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