An Ordinary Muslim
by Hammaad Chaudry
Originally produced at New York Theatre Workshop, New York, NY
February 7 to March 25, 2018
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: Balancing the high expectations of the previous generation, the doctrines of their Muslim community, and the demands of secular Western culture, Azeem Bhatti and his wife Saima struggle to straddle the gap between their Pakistani heritage and their British upbringing. Making his professional debut, playwright Hammaad Chaudry explores what it means to be An Ordinary Muslim. Obie Award winner Jo Bonney directs.
Artistic Statement:"When thinking about how to put together a season of plays to produce in New York City, I always start and end by thinking about the needs of an audience in the contemporary moment. And while these needs certainly vary, a constant need is to be challenged - to have perspective altered. In this moment, there is no play I have encountered that better meets this need than Hammaad Chaudry’s An Ordinary Muslim. When I first encountered the play in its most nascent stage in 2014, I was immediately struck by the power and vitality of Hammaad’s voice. In the subsequent years, the play has deepened as it has found its core. Following in the lineage of playwrights Clifford Odets and Arthur Miller, Hammaad shines light on the most pressing geopolitical issues of our day through the lens of a contemporary family. And like Odets and Miller, he writes about families whose stories have not been given the attention that they warrant.
What makes Hammaad’s play singular is its kaleidoscopic perspective on contemporary Islam. As much as the play chronicles a Muslim family living in the Judeo-Christian West, it is also an exploration of the complex politics, traditions, rituals, and practice of Islam within the Muslim community. Despite a dominating Western culture that seems to want to create a more monolithic picture, the tensions in An Ordinary Muslim are as much, if not more, within the Muslim world of the play as they are within the world at large. In this regard, the play both illuminates the nuances of Islamic life for an audience that might not be familiar and provides an opportunity for a Muslim audience to see itself vibrantly represented on stage." --James C. Nicola, artistic director, New York Theatre Workshop
Grant Statement: "The 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award will allow playwright Hammaad Chaudry, director Jo Bonney, and the company of actors a much needed additional week of rehearsal leading up to its world premiere in February,” said James C. Nicola, artistic director, New York Theatre Workshop, “Throughout this week, Hammaad and Jo will work with the eight actors to strengthen their portrayal of an authentic British-Pakistani family by delving more deeply into the complex politics, traditions, rituals, and practice of Islam within the Muslim community and the world at large.”
Director: Jo Bonney
Additional Funders:The Tow Foundation