By Jazmine Heggins – Collegiate Staff
Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids will premiere “Disgraced,” a play by Ayad Akthar, on Thursday, April 13 at the Grand Rapids Community College Spectrum Theater.
The play focuses on the experience of Muslim-Americans in a post-9/11 America. It takes place in Manhattan, and the main character Amir Kapoor and his wife, Emily, host an “upper East Side dinner.” Amir is American-born and practices the Muslim faith, while his wife is an Islamic-themed focused artist. The story takes off with a discussion around the dinner table about religious faiths. The guests vary from different races including African American, an Ex muslim, a Jew, and a WASP.
“Disgraced” was the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner.
“At the end of the day these are regular people just struggling, the struggle might not be the same as yours, but we all struggle,” said Sammy Publes, who plays Amir.
Kyle Los, director of Actors’ Theatre, plays the character, Issac.
“This is a unique opportunity, this a really unique story, at least for theatre, about Islamophobia,” Los said.
The group got in contact with diversity groups Koffman Interface Institute and Interface Alliance to help them identified members of the community for the play.
“After the play there will be a ‘talk back.’ People from the community, especially from the Koffman Institute will be onstage and talking to the audience and letting the audience talk, so they get to process what they’re seeing, every night except the opening night.” Fred Sebulske, the Actors’ Theatre founder who is directing the show.
“When we started Actors’ Theatre, we wanted to make sure the plays were about the people,” Sebulske said.
The play will be showing at 8 p.m. from April 13 – 22 at Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain Street NE. Tickets are available in advance over the phone, and online. Tickets are $28 for general admission, $22 for students, and $10 for students an hour before showtime.