The Vagrant Trilogy
A World Premiere Trilogy
By Mona Mansour | Directed by Mark Wing-Davey
Originally Commissioned and Developed by The Public Theater
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre
June 6-July 1, 2018
NOTE: MOST EVENING PERFORMANCES BEGIN AT 7:00 PM,
SATURDAY MATINEE PERFORMANCES BEGIN AT 2:00 PM
Read the Rave Review from the Washington Post: CLICK HERE
When hotshot Arab scholar Adham goes to London in 1967 with his new wife to give a talk, he has no idea his trip will end on a life-changing pivot point. After war suddenly breaks out in his homeland, what should he do? The Vagrant Trilogy follows each fork in that road, allowing the audience to experience his parallel lives, love and losses. Seen together in one epic showing, the plays speak to the psychic effects of displacement not just for Palestinians, but for all of us.
The Vagrant Trilogy is Part of the 2018 Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival and is comprised of three, one-hour-long plays, with two ten-minute intermissions.
Notice: Actors may smoke in stage in this production in deference to period authenticity; all cigarettes are either elctronic or herbal. No tobacco products are used.
Generously underwritten by Kumi & Bill Martin,
Elaine Reuben & The Timbrel Fund,
with additional support from Andrew R. Ammerman,
Faisel Saleh & The Garber-Saleh Charitable Fund, and Patricia Smith.
Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-399-7993 ext 2
Box Office Hours
Box office does NOT take calls two hours prior to a show's curtain, but will return all voice messages left during that time.
Will Call opens one hour prior to curtain.
Patrons who arrive late will be seated at the discretion of management.
FIRST 8 PERFORMANCES
Wed June 6 at 7PM |
Thurs June 7 at 7PM | Post show discussion
Fri June 8 at 7PM
Sat June 9 at 7PM
Sun June 10 at 4PM | Post show discussion
Mon June 11 at 7PM | Opening night
Wed June 13 at 7PM
Thurs June 14 at 7PM
Fri June 15 at 7PM
Sat June 16 at 2PM | Post show discussion
Sat June 16 at 8PM
Sun June 17 at 3PM | Post show discussion
Wed June 20 at 11AM | Cast talkback
Wed June 20 at 7PM
Thurs June 21 at 7PM | Post show discussion
Fri June 22 at 7PM
Sat June 23 at 2PM | Peace café
Sat June 23 at 8PM
Sun June 24 at 3PM | Cast talkback
Tues June 26 at 7PM
Weds June 27 at 7PM
Thurs June 28 at 7PM | Post show discussion
Fri June 29 at 7PM
Sat June 30 at 2PM | Post show discussion
Sat June 30 at 8PM
Sun July 1 at 3PM
Meet the Artists
Mona Mansour (Playwright) Mona’s play We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War directed by Evren Odcikin, will premiere at San Francisco’s Golden Thread in winter 2018. The Vagrant Trilogy was presented at New Dramatists in fall 2016 after a workshop at the Vineyard Arts Project with the Public Theater. Of the trilogy: The Hour of Feeling (directed by Mark Wing-Davey) premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and a new Arabic translation was presented at NYU Abu Dhabi, as part of its Arab Voices Festival in 2016. Urge for Going (directed by Hal Brooks): productions at Public LAB, and Golden Thread (directed by Evren Odcikin). The Vagrant, the third play in the trilogy, was commissioned by the Public and workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. The Way West received its NY premiere at Labyrinth Theater in April 2016, directed by Mimi O’Donnell. Prior to that, the play was at Steppenwolf (directed by Amy Morton) and Marin Theatre Company (directed by Hayley Finn). Other credits: Unseen, Gift Theater in Chicago (directed by Maureen Payne-Hahner) and In the Open, for Waterwell, directed by James Dean Palmer. Mona was a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and a Core Writer at Minneapolis’ Playwrights’ Center. With Tala Manassah she has written Falling Down the Stairs, an EST/Sloan commission. Their short play Dressing is part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege, a collection of plays commissioned by the New Black Festival. TV credits: Queens Supreme, Dead Like Me. Commissions include Playwrights Horizons, Old Globe Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “American Revolutions.” 2012 Whiting Award. 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award, monamansour.com
Mark Wing-Davey (Director) first came to prominence in the United States with his highly acclaimed 1992 production of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest at New York Theatre Workshop. Since then he has worked extensively in New York City, for NYTW, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, Playwright’s Horizons, LAByrinth, and the Public Theater - directing Troilus and Cressida and Henry 5 in Central Park. He directed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play at the Goodman in Chicago, Yale Rep, and for Epic Theater in a site-specific production at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.
Recent productions include Molière’s School for Wives at Two River Theater New Jersey and Pericles, his fifth production for Berkeley Rep: 36 Views, The Life of Galileo, The Beaux’ Stratagem, and Mad Forest preceding it. He also directed an acclaimed Angels in America for ACT. Additional US and international credits include productions of new and classic plays at ART, Cincinnati, La Jolla, Mark Taper, McCarter, Milwaukee Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Playmaker’s Rep, Seattle Rep, Yale Rep; London’s Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, the Edinburgh Festival, and musicals in the West End, and Australia.
Mr. Wing-Davey is an Arts Professor and the Chair of Graduate Acting at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where in September 2010 he premièred Tony Kushner’s music theater work: The Henry Box Brown Play. He directed the premiere of a new work by Adam Rapp The Eggs: A Fantasy of Love and Death in the Age of Amelioration and in 2012 directed Restoration there, a rarely seen music theater piece of Edward Bond’s, with new music by Pete Atkin. He recently completed a double production of Tracy Lett’s translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, one set in 1901, one in 1988.
Hadi Tabbal Acting credits include Mona Mansour’s The Hour of Feeling (The Humana Festival, directed by Mark Wing-Davey), Circumstance (Winner of Sundance Film Audience Award), Madam Secretary (CBS), Elementary (CBS), The Blacklist (NBC), and Person of Interest (CBS). He currently stars as Amir on NBC’s The Brave. Hadi has been involved in play development with The Sundance Theatre Institute, The Lark, Noor Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, The Atlantic Theater, and The Public Theater, among others. Hadi was playwright in residence at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor program where he developed his first full-length play, The Remnants. He was adjunct assistant professor of theatre at CUNY York College and is currently artistic associate for The Sundance Theater Institute. MFA in acting from The New School for Drama. He is a proud past recipient of the Fulbright Grant.
Dina Soltan is thrilled to be joining Mosaic’s production of The Vagrant Trilogy. She recently appeared as Fatima in Prometheus’s production of Soldier Poet, has performed in the U.K, Egypt and the U.S, previously appearing as Anasthesia in Rorschach’s production of Neverwhere, The Blind with The Wheel Theatre Company, The Game’s Afoot (awarded Best Featured Actress by DC Metro Theatre Arts Award for the role of Daria Chase), The Fox on The Fairway, The Island of Dr. Moreau (as M’ling), and Jack or The Submission.
Nora Achrati is thrilled to be part of Mosaic Theater’s production of The Vagrant Trilogy. Recent area credits include The Pavilion at The Hub Theatre; The Princess and the Pauper and The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage; Death of a Salesman at Ford's Theatre; Intelligence at Arena Stage; When We Were Young and Unafraid at The Keegan Theatre; and Mystery School with Edge of the Universe Players. Nora narrates audiobooks for the Library of Congress. Her love and gratitude go to her husband and family for their unending support.
Michael Kramer has been a Washington-area theatre artist for over 30 years. Recent credits include: Father in Eurydice at Next Stop Theatre; Sahm in Redder Blood at The Hub Theatre; Martin Dysart in Equus at Constellation Theatre; Clarence Darrow in Never the Sinner at 1st Stage; and Harvey in G-D’s Honest Truth at Theatre J. His audiobook narration has received 5 Audie nominations, a Vocal Artists Award nomination, a Stabbie Award, and an Audie Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Shpend Xani is delighted to be making his debut at Mosaic Theater Company. DC Area: Olney Theatre: The Crucible; Forum Theatre: Love and Information; Shakespeare Theatre Co/ACA: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coriolanus; NYC: NYU Skirball Center: Rest Upon the Wind (US Premiere); Hudson Guild Theatre: The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year, Pocono Christmas; FringeNYC: Pawnshop Accordions; INTERNATIONAL: Dodona Theatre; Pavilion D (Kosovo). TRAINING: BFA in Acting from Millikin University, MFA in Acting from Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting. Shpend is born and raised in Kosovo. www.shpendxani.com
Elan Zafir Arena Stage (upcoming) Junk: The Golden Age of Debt; Folger Theatre: Way of the World; Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The Unaccompanied Minor; Ford’s Theatre: Ragtime, (upcoming) Twelve Angry Men; Adventure Theatre: Jumanji (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Production); Shakespeare Theatre Company: Romeo & Juliet, Othello, Salomé (Helen Hayes Award, Ensemble); Signature: Tender Napalm; The Welders: Happiness (and other reasons to die); Rep Stage: Venus in Fur; Capital Fringe: Ben & Lucille, (upcoming) The Unaccompanied Minor. New York: New York International Fringe Festival: Leaf in the Mailbox (Best Ensemble Award); Riant Theatre: This Is Your Life; Wings Theater: Raft of the Medusa. Television: The Making of the Mob (AMC) and House of Cards (Netflix).
THE HOUR OF FEELING received its World Premiere in the 2012 Humana Festival of New American Plays
at Actors Theatre of Louisville (directed by Mark Wing-Davey).
URGE FOR GOING was developed at the Ojai Playwright’s Conference (Robert Egan, Artistic Director/Producer) with the assistance of the Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Barnes, Interim Artistic Director) and received its World Premiere at the Public LAB in 2011 (directed by Hal Brooks).
THE VAGRANT was originally commissioned and developed by The Public Theater as part of the Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director
Artistic Statement from the Playwright (courtesy of Silk Road Rising Theatre):
The characters in Urge for Going are strangely closer to my heart now than they were when I first started working on the play. Now they live in two other plays as well; all three plays now collectively form The Vagrant Trilogy. But Urge was the first time I “met” them officially; the first of the three I wrote. Set in contemporary times (2003), in a refugee camp in Southern Lebanon, Urge for Going was written as my way of trying to understand the past and present of my father's home country, Lebanon. What did it mean that outside my father’s village (near the city of Sidon), there were two Palestinian camps that had been in existence since 1948? What happens to those inside that kind of "permanent impermanence?" What happens to the family dynamic when someone tries to push against that enforced stasis?
After finishing that play, I hadn't imagined writing anything more about those characters. Then later, in the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, I was trying to decide what to write, and it occurred to me that I was very interested in the story Adham tells his daughter, Jamila, in Urge about his trip to London in 1967 as a young man just out of Cairo University, full of hope about his future. I knew I wanted that new play, called The Hour of Feeling, to end with Adham making the decision to go back to Palestine in 1967 as the war broke out. I needed the character to make that decision, so The Hour of Feeling would line up narratively with Urge for Going. But the younger, cockier, 1967 version of Adham didn’t want to go back home to be with family when war broke out. Essentially, the younger Adham didn’t want to “join up” with his future self, stuck in a refugee camp. The character, now in full throes of his academic success in London, refused to go back to that fate. I’m the playwright, of course, so I suppose I could make Adham do anything I want! But this was a real impasse. A good friend and fellow Emerging Writers Group fellow, Kevin Snipes, read what I had as an ending to The Hour of Feeling. And he said: “Well the good thing is, I think you have the ending of this play. The other good thing is, depending on how you see it – I think you have another play.” Thus the trilogy was born. From that pivot point – summer of 1967 – Adham could go two ways. One of those ways leads him back to Urge for Going. The other leads him to The Vagrant.
The Vagrant imagines Adham’s life as it would be if at the outbreak of war at home, he, all of age 23, decides to stay in London. How many people, fleeing war and violence, have had to make those kind of split-second decisions? Who can know what your future holds? In The Vagrant, we see Adham in 1982. He’s doing well well enough materially but has completely compartmentalized all connections to family, home and trauma, until all of that shatters.
So it’s a conditional trilogy. Seen together, what the plays speak to is the deep psychic costs of displacement. This is what has obsessed me through writing all of these plays about the imagined life of a Palestinian scholar: The place you escape to, if you’re “lucky” enough to escape, will never be home; you will never fully be of that place. Nor will you ever be “of” your homeland again, once displaced. I think about this more and more as the issue of migrants and migrations sets off elections, galvanizes the xenophobic, and fuels visions of massive walls: At the beginning of every of those journeys is an unspeakable loss. My hope is that that together, the plays will speak to the psychic effects of displacement for Palestinians, and for all of us.