A Message from Artistic Director Peter DuBois

Dear Friends,

We are living in turbulent times, and nowhere is that stress more felt than in Muslim communities across the country. In November, our attorney general here in Massachusetts set up a dedicated hotline for communities hit by an increase in harassment and bias-motivated violence, a group that includes Muslims, Arab Americans, Sikhs, and others; the surge of islamophobia in our country has only seemed to accelerate since then, and that current context changes the way we experience this very particular American story of a Muslim family right now.

The Who & the What is set in 2014. We may be the first production of the play that does not and cannot say “the present” in its program. Yet the core theme of the play — about how our relationship to our faith changes how we relate to our families and to ourselves — has shifted very little, and in fact, has never felt more vital to me. In the wake of what we are experiencing here in our city, in our state, in our country, our staff was compelled to write a statement of our values, of what we want to put into the world right now:

The Huntington is committed to telling stories of all races and cultures on our stages, and providing a platform to theatre artists who expand our definition, recognition, and understanding of the human experience. We stand with our peer institutions in resisting fear and intolerance, and we strive to cultivate generosity, artistic excellence, and radical hospitality. All are welcome here.

Vaddey Ratner, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, wrote: “We are capable of extraordinary beauty if we dare to dream.” Come, let’s dream together for an hour or two with Zarina and her family. And then let’s go out in the world a little better for it.

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