Friday, September 26, 2008

The Latest News on Benedictus

Benedictus, a new play developed and premiered at Siena College in 2007, was given a professional reading in New York City at the Lark Play Development Center on Tuesday, September 23rd. Professor Mahmood Karimi-Hakak and Dean of Liberal Arts Ralph Blasting attended the reading along with the rest of the artistic team, including playwright Motti Lerner from Tel Aviv. All were invited members of a panel discussion on intercultural collaboration following the reading. The reading was a part of the fifteenth annual Playwrights’ Week at the Lark; the script one of eleven selected from among 400 entries. Three members of the team (Karimi-Hakak, Torange Yeghiazarian, and Danny Michaelson) represented the project at a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinajad the following day, during Amadinajad’s visit to the U.N.

The play grew out of an intercultural theatre collaboration which began on Siena’s campus in August 2005, bringing together theatre artists from Iran, Israel, and the U.S. The team included Motti Lerner (Tel Aviv), Roberta Levitow (Los Angeles), Torange Yeghiazarian (San Francisco), Danny Michaelson (Bennington), Karimi-Hakak and Blasting. The student premiere was performed in the Beaudoin Theatre in April 2007, and was followed by professional productions at Golden Thread Theater in San Francisco and the Los Angeles Theatre Center in October-November, 2007. Lerner has continued to develop the script, which has had readings in Melbourne and Rome, and is next scheduled to be heard at Theatre J in Washington, DC. The group continues to work towards another professional production.

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