Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wajahat Ali, a Muslim Pakistani-American playwright, journalist, humorist and writer, (and a former student of mine) will present excerpts from “The Domestic Crusaders” at Performing the World ’08 (PTW ’08), an international conference and festival that will take place from October 2-5, 2008 in New York City. PTW ‘’08 is expected to attract over 400 grassroots practitioners, activists, scholars and researchers from throughout the United States and around the world.
“The Domestic Crusaders” focuses on one day in the life of a modern Muslim Pakistani-American family who come together to celebrate the 21st birthday of the youngest child. Against the backdrop of September 11 and the scapegoating of Muslim Americans, the tensions and sparks fly among three generations, culminating in an intense family battle as each “crusader” struggles to assert and impose their respective voices and opinions, while still attempting to maintain and understand that unifying thread that makes them part of the same family.
“The Domestic Crusaders,” a play the Pulitzer nominated author and poet Ishmael Reed says should be “ranked with family dramas written by Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neil,” is the first major play about Muslim Americans. It premiered in 2005 to critical and audience acclaim at Berkeley Repertory Theater’s Thrust Stage.
The session led by by Mr. Ali is just one of over 150 presentations and performances that will take place at PTW ’08, a bi-annual conference co-sponsored by the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy (Institute) and the All Stars Project. The Institute (www.eastsideinstitute.org) is an independent, international non-profit training and research center recognized for its cutting edge approach to human development. The All Stars Project (www.allstars.org) is recognized for its highly successful performance-based outside-of-school developmental programs for young people whose outside-of-school youth.