American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) introduces a celebrated Middle Eastern voice to the Bay Area with the West Coast premiere of Wajdi Mouawad's haunting playScorched. After receiving more than 100 productions (in several languages) worldwide, the Lebanese-Canadian writer's new play will be directed at A.C.T. by Artistic Director Carey Perloff in a beautiful translation from the original French by distinguished Canadian author Linda Gaboriau.
The Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe– and Academy Award–nominated actor David Strathairn (Temple Grandin and Good Night, and Good Luck.; The Tempest at A.C.T.) leads the cast. In Scorched, after their mother's death, twins Janine and Simon are given two letters with clues about their family's mysterious past. They embark on an unforgettable journey to the Middle East in search of the father and brother they never knew they had. Scorched weaves its riveting mystery into a captivating tapestry, inviting us to slowly unravel an astonishing truth. The chaos of conflict has never been so immediate-or so human. Called "a work of raw power . . . delicately lyrical and unforgettable" by Philadelphia Weekly and "suspenseful and engrossing" by the New York Times, Scorched performs a limited run February 16–March 11, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night isWednesday, February 22, 2012, at 8 p.m. Tickets (starting at $10) are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or at act-sf.org.
"Scorched continues our deep relationship with the cutting edge of Canadian theater, and brings the turmoil and tribalism of the Middle East to the forefront for the first time at A.C.T.," says Perloff. This riveting play has entranced audiences across the globe and was turned into a feature film with the title Incendies, which was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Perloff adds: "Mouawad is a major new writer whose work is acclaimed internationally but relatively unknown in the United States; A.C.T. is thrilled to introduce him to the Bay Area. Scorched is a Greek tragedy for our time, incredibly imaginative and provocative, and will be brought to life at A.C.T. by a company of remarkable Middle Eastern actors as well as four of our amazing core Acting Company members and the incomparable David Strathairn, whose deep humanity and self-deprecating wit will form the lens through which we witness this moving and surprising story."
Strathairn plays bumbling notary public Alphonse Lebel, who acts as a guide to the two twins as they try to unearth the truth about their family. The Emmy Award winner last appeared on the A.C.T. stage as Prospero in The Tempest, which was the inaugural production at the American Conservatory Theater after it reopened in 1996 following the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Strathairn has a long-standing artistic relationship with Perloff, having appeared in numerous Classic Stage Company productions in New York City when she was leading the institution. A.C.T. core Acting Company member Annie Purcell (Coast of Utopia, Elektra with Perloff)and Babak Tafti (recent Yale School of Drama graduate) play the twins at the heart of the story, tracing the mystery of their mother, played at various ages by Marjan Neshat (Sexual Perversity in Chicago at A.C.T. andSeagull at Classic Stage Company) and Jacqueline Antaramian (The Little Foxes at A.C.T., Coram Boy and Julius Caesar on Broadway). They are joined by Apollo Dukakis (Hecuba at A.C.T., The Kite Runner at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Homebody/Kabul at Trinity Repertory Company). Members of A.C.T.'s acclaimed core Acting Company Manoel Felciano, Nick Gabriel, and Omozé Idehenre round out the amazing ensemble.