Al Nazemian* (festival founder/producer/actor) has
Nora Armani* (festival co-producer & director) is an actor/
New York City: The first annual Noor Play Festival tool place at the Wings Theatre, New York, NY, from April
Read interview in Curtain Rising with Producers Nazemian and Armani.
The Noor Festival of short plays tackles Middle East-related topics and offers a great theatre experience through original comedic and dramatic short plays. Its mission, as the name noor (light) suggests, is to enlighten savvy theatergoers about the Middle East while entertaining them.
“The unique criteria for a play to be selected (besides of course its artistic and literary merits) is that at least one of the characters in it should be from the Middle East”, says festival founder and co-producer Al Nazemian.
“However, playwrights, actors, directors, talent, technical crew- and above all, audiences- don’t have to be Middle Eastern at all!” adds festival co-producer Nora Armani.
Noor Festival themes embrace a wide geographical area including: Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan and all the Arab countries.
Play submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis and those not selected for this year will be considered for subsequent years.
Talent and technical crew, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and all kinds of support are welcome. The producers would also love to hear from you with your ideas. Write to them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Producers Al Nazemian and Nora Armani
at the Noor Play Festival Launch
March 30th, 2008
NY TIMES: Audience Review by Russell16"The Rubbaiyat of Omar Khayyam", was the most original and cleverly written play of the festival. In it, a clay bowl full of wine talks to Persian poet Omar Khayyam and tempts him to drink her (the clay bowl is embodied by a female actress.) Sharon Freedman puts her expressive body and voice to great use as the clay bowl & Al Nazemian is superb as Omar Khayyam- conveying with his physicality the poet's struggle between resisting temptation/being ascetic and surrendering to the clay bowl and drinking the wine (which he ultimately does in a delicious climax in which the clay bowl has an orgasm as Omar touches it, rubs it, then drinks from it.)
Noor Play Festival List of Plays (seen in the same evening):
“The Sort of Happy Ending to the Sad Tale of Mr. Ali Ali: or the Lighter Side of Outsourcing Torture,” written by Craig Abernethy, and directed by Nora Armani, deals with the subject of outsourcing torture in a comedic, circus-like, bigger than life fashion.
“Saddam’s Crapper,” written by Kate McLeod, and directed by Patrick Mills, tells the story of an Iraqi woman, Saddam’s cleaning lady at the verge of losing her job, interviewed by a CNN-type reporter immediately following the fall of the Saddam regime.
“Stars,” written by Evan Guilford-Blake and directed by Patrick Mills, tells about the friendship and tenderness between two young men, a Persian boy enthralled by the poetry or Rumy and his African American friend.
“The Rubbaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” written by Scott McMorrow and directed by Tracy C. Francis deals with the philosophical and sensual world of Omar Khayyam and his relation with a clay bowl embodied by a woman…
“Train," written by Bethel Caram and Neil Potter and directed by Tracy C. Francis is about a half Arab half American couple on a train that sees Middle Eastern looking fellow passengers and become suspicious of them.
“Trigger Happy,” written by Zach Fischer and directed by Scott Casper is a comedic and human take on an Iraqi dentist caught in the crossfire between warring terrorists and American fighters.
“Khawaga Story” written and directed by Nora Armani based on the book “The Lost World of Egyptian Jews” by Liliane S. Dammond, is about Egyptian Jews in exile following the creation of the State of Israel and Nasser’s 1952 Revolution in Egypt.
Kathryn Kates in 'Khawaga Story'
Photo: Meredith Whitefield