"DISGRACED" OFFERS A POWERFUL PUNCH


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Even when life seems perfect, you may wait for the other shoe to drop, especially if it suddenly thuds down with a shattering crash. Amir and Emily lead a charmed life in New York City, a happily-ever-after life that crashes when their castle crumbles around them. He is a successful attorney in a prestigious Jewish law firm, poised to make partner, while his artist wife is awaiting entry into a well respected gallery showing.

Expect an intense confrontation between country and culture when Amir and Emily are swept into a vortex of self-doubt and questioning in the Pulitzer Prize winning drama "Disgraced" by Ayad Akhtar. Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven will establish an elegant courthouse of opinions in the couple's well appointed living room, a set designed by Lee Savage, until Sunday, November 8.

Amir, brought to conflicted presence by Rajesh Bose, had "passed" when he sought admittance in his legal firm. Not admitting to his Pakistani heritage, he changed his name and his country of origin, calling India, the more acceptable homeland, as his birthplace. While he feels comfortable in this legion of Jews, he identifies more with his fellow attorney Jory (Shirine Babb) who is African-American.

In fact, Jory and her Jewish husband Isaac (Benim Foster) are good friends socially with Amir and his supportive wife Emily, a vision seeking Nicole Lowrance. A dinner party figures prominently in the drama, revealing secrets and misconceptions that rock the relationships. The catalyst for the earthquake of revelations begins with the arrival of Amir's nephew Abe (Mohit Gautain) who has a compelling request: he wants his lawyer uncle to stand up in court and defend his good friend, an imam, who has been accused of channeling money to fund terrorists. Reluctantly Amir is forced to decide if he is going to embrace his Muslim heritage or reject it: who is he at his deepest source: Pakistani or American. Can he straddle the two worlds? What repercussions will he suffer no matter which side he selects? How will his marriage, his career and his friendships survive his choices? Gordon Edelstein directs this explosive and thought shifting drama in a taut 90 minute roller coaster ride.

For tickets ($25-85), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 pm. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m.and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 pm.

Assimilation, ambition and animosity battle for dominance as the American Dream is put on trial and no one, least of all Lady Justice, comes out a winner.

 

* Contact Us * Designed by Rokoco Designs * © 2008 CCC *
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE