safeword. at the American Theatre of Actors until July 7th.

Love this wonderful off-Broadway play about the power of self determination and self empowerment. The show explores intimate relationships, what we need and desire from our partners, and what it means to have power and control… through a cleverly-crafted story centering on BDSM and food. Oh yes, food porn is definitely involved.

Bravos for a lovely performance, safeword.


Noura: Play and post-performance chat at the Playwrights Horizons.

I enjoyed learning about the Iraqi experience, connected with the stories about the immigrant life, but am at a complete loss about the irrationality of religions.

The most intriguing part of the night, to me, was listening to the writer, Heather Raffo, describe the Iraqi experience.

The use of the words alone demonstrates the difference in perspectives. What is commonly referred to as the “Iraq War” in western media is the “American War” to the Iraqis.

Heather wanted to create “progressive” roles for male actors of Middle Eastern descent, referring to the characters, Tareq and Rafa’a. I had thought Tareq was super conservative and misogynist for his disapproval of premarital sex (for women only; because women are “at fault” for not resisting), disdain of single mothers, and strict adherence to traditional marriages. But then again, Heather explained that oftentimes Middle Eastern male characters appear on stage only to portray terrorists. That is her baseline.

The most tragic part of the Iraqi experience, however, is the breakdown of the society… where a society fragments and no longer trusts “the other side”… where neighborhoods erect walls and barriers to protect themselves… where cities no longer have parks because open space presents too much danger.

Even more concerning, the sectarian conflicts are starting to spread from Iraq to the various immigrant communities in the US.

I can personally relate to many aspects of the immigrant family portrayed in the play: The tension between the first and second generations. Traditions and social norms that are at odds with each other.

I’m not surprised by how religion has been turned into a weapon and source of distrust and hatred. Being an atheist, though, I don’t understand why people continue to choose to hold onto their religion (or justify their actions using religion) when it’s doing so much damage to their community, loved ones, and themselves.

Friends, the Musical Parody

Friends the Musical Parody. June 6th at the St. Luke’s Theatre.

The shows poster reads: “You’ll laugh so hard that your face will hurt!” 😂

And indeed I laughed so hard that my face hurt. 😂😂😂

A must-see for anyone calling themselves a Friends fan!

Disco Pigs

“What is the colour of love, Pig?”

I couldn’t miss the chance to see Evanna Lynch perform live in person in “Disco Pigs” at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Evanna Lynch, a.k.a. Luna Lovegood, is only one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter!

The show officially opens tomorrow, but I saw the preview last Saturday. Set in the Irish town of Cork City, the play centers on Pig and Runt, two teenagers who grew up together. While the stage was bare except for a television, Evanna (as Runt) and Colin Campbell (as Pig) painted an incredibly detailed world for us through their accents, their words (a verbal type of language that only two people who grew up together could create), and their interactions (chugging down ciders, catching a cab to see the ocean, going to a disco). The two’s fondness and trust of each other are apparent, but so are their dependencies. They love each other (“they became man and woman together”) yet they could not break free… from their small town where the future is uncertain, from the inevitable transition into adulthood, and from each other.

The play itself offers no answer where Pig and Runt will go, but it’s portrayal of friendship, love, and coming-of-age has me thinking all weekend long… about the young artists around me in New York… aspiring technologists/entrepreneurs in San Francisco… and what it means to live and be human in today’s world.

Bravos, Evanna and Colin, for a brutally honest performance.

Iphigenia in Splott

A furious night with “Iphigenia in Splott”

Trying something different this evening with a one-person play, coming to New York from Wales after winning the UK Theatre Award.

Sophie Melville was incredible tonight as Effie, a fierce young woman whose life was falling apart from alcohol abuse to unsatisfying relationships, but who nevertheless stood her ground even when the society casted her out as the “stupid slag” and “nasty skank” to avoid crossing on the streets. Over the course of 7 to 8 months, we were brought deep into Effie’s psychic. We understood her desire to care, and felt her will of never wanting to be alone again. Just when we thought life was about to change for Effie, everything came crashing down on one snowy day.

Here’s the real head fake in this play…

We felt sorry for Effie. However, the chain of events also exposed in real human terms, whom we sacrifice in our society when money is tight. What are our goals as a nation? To maximize business growth and corporate profits? Or, do we not have a greater purpose and other responsibilities to our own community? At the end, we felt even sadder and sorrier, for losing sight of the bigger picture.