Cultural discussions accompany The Rep’s performances of ‘Disgraced’

January 12, 2017


Submitted photo

Numerous discussion opportunities will be centered around playwright Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced.”

MILWAUKEE — The Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Disgraced,” presented by the Milwaukee Rep, will feature special discussion sessions during its run from Tuesday through Feb. 12.

The play poses an unexpected clash of cultures when a successful Pakistani-American lawyer and his wife host a dinner party. The play is written by Rep associate artist Ayad Akhtar and was the most produced play nationwide in the 2015-’16 season.

As The Rep’s Community Conversations Program play this season, dialogues will be facilitated with leaders from the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion and Intercultural Dinners moderated by InterFaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and weekend evenings after the performance, audience members will take part in discussions. The Intercultural Dinners are every Monday during the show’s run and 100 people from diverse backgrounds engage in conversations.

In the opening week, a conversation with the playwright will take place before Wednesday’s show; tickets for the evening’s show are required for entry.

Scheduled panel discussions are;

n “Identity Politics” — After the 4 p.m. Jan. 21 performance, moderated by Nate Imig of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee with Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Dynamic Software Cop., Richard Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and Paula Penebaker, president and CEO at the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin.

n “No Politics at Dinner: How Do We Discuss Difficult Topics?” — After the 2 p.m. Jan. 22 performance, led by arts and books editor Jim Higgins with panelists Katherine Wilson, executive director of the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, Irfan A. Omar, associate professor of theology at Marquette University, Elana Kahn, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Bonnie North, Lake Effect co-host at 89.7 WUWM.

n “Being Brown: The Complexities of Identity in Post-9/11 America” — After the 4 p.m. Jan. 28 performance, moderated by Rahul Dubey, information security analyst for Rockwell Automation with panelists Louise Cainkar, president of the Arab American Studies Association and a Marquette associate professor, David Muhammad, violence prevention manager at the Milwaukee Health Department, and Mohammad EIBsat, senior engineer at Johnson Controls.

n “Identity in the Workplace” — After the 4 p.m. Feb. 4 performance — moderated by Mark Kass of the Milwaukee Business Journal with panelists Vivian King, vice president of Community Relations at Aurora Health Care, and Raquel Filmanowicz, director of U.S. Community Affairs at BMO Harris Bank.

n “Journeys of Self: Evolving Identities” — After the 2 p.m. Feb. 12 performance — moderated by Imig with panelists the Rev. Marilyn Miller of The Lutheran Church of Reformation, Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum of Congregation Shir Hadash, and Sarah DeGeorge, executive assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

There will also be talkbacks with actors from “Disgraced” on Wednesdays after the 7:30 p.m. play, starting Jan. 25, and after the 2 p.m. performance Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, and after the 4 p.m. Feb. 11 performance.

About 45 minutes before curtain for every performance, Austene Van, who plays Jory in the production, will have a pre-show conversation.