The North Pool
by Rajiv Joseph
originally produced at TheatreWorks,
Menlo Park, CA .
March 12, 2011
through April 3, 2011
The North Pool, is a story of Khadim, a Syrian-born student in a large U.S. high school. Called into the vice principal's office to discuss recent absences, he soon becomes caught in a web of lies about crimes he may (or may not) have committed. The psychological thriller is an incredibly timely character study about racial, cultural and gender profiling in America, using current affairs as an allegory to ultimately reach an emotional truth. Playwright Rajiv Joseph seamlessly blends social commentary into a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game that plays out in front of the audience in real time.
TheatreWorks is excited to produce the world premiere of The North Pool, which, as a staged reading, generated a lot of discussion and conversation amongst our New Works Festival audiences in 2009. In our world of racial profiling and snap-judgments, it is rare to find a script that doesn’t take sides. It is also rare to find suspense of this caliber in the theatre, with the audience implicated by their own assumptions and kept at the precipice of the truth right up to the end of the play. The North Pool plays and preys upon both our deep-seated tendencies to judge based on stereotype as well as our hyper-awareness of being politically correct. Much like John Patrick Shanley's Doubt and David Mamet’s Oleanna, Joseph masterfully persuades the audience to vacillate between judgments. At times, we are certain that Khadim is a disgruntled Middle Eastern youth capable of anarchy, at others we are convinced that it is Mr. Davidson, the middle class white vice-principal, who is capable of a gross misuse of power, extorting and condemning without cause.
Rehearsing a world premiere, every moment is precious. Every question regarding the production has never been answered before. The Edgerton grant will provide us with apt opportunity to experiment with the tone, pacing and momentum of this exhilarating new play. We thank the Edgerton Foundation for afforded us an extra ten days of rehearsal, allowing for the play to be further explored through the process, rather than merely be prepared for production.
The world premiere of The North Pool and TheatreWorks’ New Works Initiative is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Fleishhacker Foundation, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Power dynamic seethes with tension in 'The North Pool'
The Examiner, March 16, 2011
Theater Review: 'The North Pool', Rajiv Joseph's Affectinng New Play
The Daily Casserole, March 14, 2011
'North Pool' review: No ordinary detention
San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2011
Review: 'The North Pool' strikes home in Palo Alto
Stark Insider, March 14, 2011
Rajiv Joseph: A fresh and compelling voice in theater
San Jose Mercury News, March 6, 2011
A thriller is born; Pulitzer-finalist playwright readies his new drama for TheatreWorks curtain
Palo Alto Online, March 4, 2011
A Little Good, a Little Evil, a Lot of Ritual
New York Times, December 29, 2010