LA JOLLA–The La Jolla Playhouse announces its final production for its 2013/14 season with the world premiere of “The Who & The What,” by Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) and directed by Kimberly Senior (The North Plan).
The play will run February 11 through March 9, 2014 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.
Raised in a conservative Muslim family in Atlanta, the outspoken and brilliant Zarina routinely clashes with her traditional father and sister. Zarina’s one outlet —her recently completed book about women and Islam —threatens to tear her family apart for good. With humor and ferocity, Ayad Akhtar’s The Who & The What examines the giant chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives.
The play had its first developmental reading this past February during the Playhouse’s inaugural DNA New Work Series, which entailed a six-week period of workshop productions and readings of new plays and musicals. Following the reading of The Who & The What, Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley immediately wanted this provocative new play as part of the 2013/2014 season.
“I was so moved – not just by the piece itself, but also by the passionate and invigorating discussions it prompted with our audience after the reading,” said Ashley. “The play tackles many hot-button issues surrounding religion and family traditions, but with tremendous wit, warmth and wisdom. We welcome the opportunity to work with Ayad on his latest piece and witness the emergence of a major new voice in American theatre.”
The Playhouse will continue the development of “The Who & The What” with two additional steps: a reading in June and a workshop in September, both of which will incorporate discussions and post-show talk-backs with audiences and community leaders.
The DNA New Work Series is designed to give playwrights the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources, culminating in a workshop production or public reading. In its highly-successful first year, the series featured a concert reading of Chasing the Song, by Memphis creators Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, workshop productions of Meg Miroshnik’s “The Tall Girls” and Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Brahman/i, plus six 1-day readings, giving the Playhouse the opportunity to cultivate relationships with numerous emerging and established artists. The series joins the Playhouse’s roster of exciting new work development initiatives, including commissions, artist residencies and the signature Page To Stage Play Development Program.