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About Face Theatre announces 2022-2023 season
-- From a press release
2022-09-02

This article shared 1001 times since Fri Sep 2, 2022
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CHICAGO (August 31, 2022) — About Face Theatre is excited to announce plans for its 28th season. Dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ equity through community building, education, and performance, AFT will present two world-premiere productions at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park, as well as workshops and projects in development.

About Face's 2022-2023 season will begin in November 2022 with the world premiere of Omer Abbas Salem's new play Mosque4Mosque, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. Mosque4Mosque is a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first real relationship while his relentlessly caring immigrant mother tries to find the perfect man for him to marry. In May 2023 the company will present the world premiere of Gender Play, or what you Will, a new one-person performance co-created by Will Wilhelm and Erin Murray. Gender Play, or what you Will is a highly personal exploration of the works of William Shakespeare through a gender-imaginative lens.

Throughout the year, About Face Theatre will continue its commitment to leadership development, intergenerational collaboration, and learning opportunities. AFT's Green Room Collective will enter its second full year supporting early career LGBTQ+ arts leaders with part-time staff roles. In addition, creative workshops will explore new possibilities for programs asking, "Who are we becoming? What are our collective dreams? How will we grow together?" Further details will be available on the website later this fall.

"Connect, grow, and find joy with us", invites About Face Theatre Artistic Director, Megan Carney. "The stories in our upcoming season combine bravery and humor to deepen community connections and move us toward a more just world. These productions combined with signature About Face programs and new work development promise a year of visionary collaborations ahead."

ABOUT FACE THEATRE'S 2022-2023 SEASON

Mosque4Mosque

Written by Omer Abbas Salem

Directed by Sophiyaa Nayar

November 17 - December 17, 2022 | Press opening: Mon, Nov 21, 2022 @ 7:30pm

Typical showtimes: Thurs & Fri @ 7:30pm, Sat @ 3:00pm and 7:30pm, Sun @ 3:00pm

Check the calendar for schedule details around holidays. All performances will take place at The Den Theatre, 1331 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Pay-what-you-can tickets ($5-$35) will go on sale in the coming weeks at The Den Theatre box office or About Face Theatre's website.

Ibrahim is an average 30-something queer Arab-American Muslim who is constantly being reminded how unmarried he is by his relentlessly caring immigrant mother, Sara. Having helped raise his smart, popular, cheerleading hijabi younger sister, Ibrahim has always been comfortable sinking into the background. Normal job, quiet life, easy men. But on the precipice of finding what could be his first real relationship, Sara feels compelled to take Ibrahim's future into her own hands by attempting to find the perfect man for him to marry. Mosque4Mosque is a comedy about a normal Muslim American family that asks us to wrestle with what we believe normal to be.

Mosque4Mosque was workshopped and performed virtually through the Criminal Queerness Festival and Dixon Place in July 2020, directed by Sharifa Elkady. It was selected to be Steppenwolf Theatre's SCOUT Development play for 2020 and received a 30-hour workshop and a fully produced reading in March of 2021. This world premiere production at About Face Theatre will receive dramaturgical and community engagement support from Silk Road Rising.

Director Sophiyaa Nayar says "Activist and author adrienne maree brown describes visionary fiction as centering marginalized peoples, 'aiming neither for utopia nor dystopia, but that harder, more realistic place in the middle.' Mosque4Mosque does exactly that — it reimagines what our relationship with religion, queerness, and family could look like. It dismantles stereotypes about Arab, Muslim, and immigrant families, which are often harmfully painted in the media as violent caricatures or side-plot comedic relief.

"I can see myself in Abbas' work. I see my family in it," she continued. "I see Arab friends I've grown up with and their families in it. He paints these characters with such concrete detail and infuses them with so much life that it's hard not to root for them. A friend once talked about how you can smell his plays when you read them, and I think that holds especially true with Mosque4Mosque."

Gender Play, or what you Will

Co-Created by Will Wilhelm and Erin Murray

Performed by Will Wilhelm

Directed by Erin Murray

May 4 - June 3, 2023 | Press opening: Fri, May 12, 2023

Typical showtimes: Thurs & Fri @ 7:30pm, Sat @ 3:00pm and 7:30pm, Sun @ 3:00pm

at The Den Theatre, 1331 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Pay-what-you-can tickets ($5-$35) will go on sale in the coming weeks at The Den Theatre box office or About Face Theatre's website.

The classic works of Shakespeare are filled with queerness: cross-dressing, homoeroticism, the fluidity of masculine and feminine gender roles, and so many phallic puns! In this one-person show, actor Will Wilhelm conjures the spirit of playwright William Shakespeare to examine the Bard's works through their own queer perspectives and life experiences. Together, Will & Will propose a new reason to keep these old stories alive: not as a relic of what our society has been, but as a testament to seeing ourselves reflected in history. Gender Play, or what you Will invites guests to share a mystical evening of laughter, poetry, and tarot that coalesces into a celebration of queer joy.

Gender Play, or what you Will explores fresh, contemporary pathways into the classics. The play was developed with support from About Face Theatre, Island Shakespeare Festival, Northwestern University and the Arts Midwest's Grow, Invest, Gather Fund.

"I love the conversation of Gender Play," says director Erin Murray. "It is a smart exchange about how and why we continue to stage classic theatre that leaves the viewer feeling inspired and informed. Will Wilhelm is as vivacious as they are provocative."

"And yet," she says, "if you haven't picked up a play since your 9th grade R&Jreading assignment, this show will happily carry you on its back and serve you a smile. It asks you to be gentle with yourself and those around you as it secures you into a wild ride through history and personal stories. In Gender Play, or what you Will, the audiences will find new peace in being once again part of a collective."

LEADERSHIP AND EDUCATION

Leadership and education programming at About Face Theatre will include programs and workshops that combine storytelling and theatre making with wellness practices and community connections. Participants in the next cohort of the Green Room Collective leadership program will contribute in meaningful ways on projects throughout the season while strengthening their individual skills. The year ahead will also feature a unique play reading series that explores different models for production.

ABOUT FACE THEATRE advances LGBTQ+ equity through community building, education, and performance. Learn more at aboutfacetheatre.com .


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