by Zayd Dohrn
directed by Kip Fagan
Originally produced at Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY
March 17 - April 30, 2017
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: THE PROFANE follows two young Arab-American college students in love, whose wildly different family backgrounds puts their future together in jeopardy. The Almedin family are assimilated American leftist intellectuals, living safely nestled in the liberal bastion of uptown New York; when they learn that their daughter has fallen for the son of a conservative Muslim family, their open-mindedness is challenged by the deep-seated prejudices they feel. But Zayd’s articulate play manages to defy any expectations we might form about this culture-clash, asking us to reconsider, as the Almedins rush to conclusions, who we think is tolerant and who is close-minded.
Artistic Statement: Though this is Zayd Dohrn’s first production at Playwrights Horizons, he has a long history with us. Our artistic staff has been closely following the trajectory of his writing for almost a decade, both in production at other theaters and in development at our own. Having been huge fans of his plays, we invited him to work on his plays WANT and BEDLAM in our New Works Lab. So when he sent us his latest play, THE PROFANE, not only were we thrilled to recognize it immediately as a major achievement in the evolution of his work, we were quick to welcome him to his rightful place among our family of writers. Zayd’s writing is psychologically acute, carefully structured and gripping, and though his plays take on wildly divergent subject matters, they seem to be written from deep within the landscapes he’s drawn. THE PROFANE is timeless story of two families trying to understand their children. The play draws up traces of ROMEO AND JULIET, or even KING LEAR – but in light of recent events, and the intensifying preconceptions of Muslims in America today, this play feels about as urgent and timely as a play can be.
Grant Statement: Like all great plays, THE PROFANE presents its specific challenges. Thematically, this is especially sensitive material, and it’s important to excavate the ideas and tone of this nuanced, complicated play even before we put it in front of a preview audience. The extra rehearsal time that the Edgerton Foundation supports through this grant program adds a crucial extra week to our already-scheduled 3.5 weeks of rehearsal, and will allow the creative team and the artistic staff of Playwrights Horizons the chance to approach these challenges mindfully and thoroughly, without compromising the trickier considerations the play demands simply because of time constraints.
Sound Designer: Brandon Wolcott
Lighting Designer: Matt Frey
Costume Designer: Jessica Pabst
Set Designer: Andrew Boyce
Additional Funders Supporting The Profane: Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs