Will Call #18 — Playwright Tom Coash, Director Leah C. Gardiner On “ Veils “

Thought-provoking examination of customs and culture, “Veils,” opens this weekend at Barrington Stage Company

Donnetta Lavinia Grays and Hend Ayoub in "Veils" at Barrington Stage Company now through October 18; photo by Kevin Sprague

Donnetta Lavinia Grays and Hend Ayoub in “Veils” at Barrington Stage Company now through October 18; photo by Kevin Sprague

The Greylock Glass spoke at length both with “Veils” author Tom Coash and director Leah C. Gardiner about this contemplative work produced by Barrington Stage Company.

“Veils” is set in 2010, when Intisar, an African American Muslim student, arrives in Cairo for a year abroad, she hopes finally to be understood. She’s quickly enlisted by her exuberant Egyptian roommate, Samar, to help create a blog debating the practice of wearing veils, but when the Arab Spring intervenes, revolution threatens to overtake their friendship.

Leah C. Gardiner

Leah C. Gardiner, director of "Veils" at Barrington Stage Company; submitted photo

Leah C. Gardiner, director of “Veils” at Barrington Stage Company; submitted photo

Leah C. Gardiner (Director) New York theatre credits include “generations” (Soho Rep, U.S. premiere), “Fidelis” (Public Theater), “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” (Atlantic Theater Company, U.S. premiere), “Born Bad” (Soho Rep, U.S. premiere, Obie Award), “Pitbulls” (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), “Bulrusher” (Urban Stages, world premiere and Pulitzer finalist), “The Ghost of Enoch Charlton” (Keen Company), and “Kent, CT”(Zipper Theater). Select national credits include Anna Deavere Smith’s “Notes from the Field” (Berkeley Rep, world premiere); “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Othello” (Houston Shakespeare Festival); “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” (Alliance Theatre); “Fences” (Oregon Shakespeare); Broadway’s “The Normal Heart” (Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, re-staging director); and the national tour of “Wit” (Kennedy Center, Ordway, among others). As a writer and director she worked on “Cultures Collide” (Sony Entertainment); as a short film director, “The Belle of New Orleans” (Alliance Theatre); and as a film producer, “Mother of George,” best cinematography, Sundance. She will make her screen acting debut in Ira Sachs’s forthcoming film “Thank You for Being Honest” opposite Greg Kinnear. Leah holds an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama.

 

Tom Coash

Tom Coash, author of "Veils," running 10/4–10/18 at Barrington Stage Company

Tom Coash, author of “Veils,” running 10/4–10/18 at Barrington Stage Company

Tom Coash (Playwright) is a New Haven, Ct. playwright and director. Prior to New Haven, he spent three years in Bermuda and four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. Coash was a Co-founder of the Offstage Theatre in Charlottesville, VA, and has worked for such theatres as the Manhattan Theatre Club, Stageworks/Hudson, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Coash has won numerous awards for his new play “Veils,” including the American Theatre Critics Association’s 2015 “M. Elizabeth Osborn Award”, the Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights, an Edgerton Foundation National New Play Award, and was a finalist for the very prestigious 2015 American Theatre Critics Association’s ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award. His plays have been produced worldwide including the recent production of his play “Cry Havoc” in the South African National Arts Festival where he was an artist-in-residence. Coash is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of California at Davis.

 

Donnetta Lavinia Grays

Donnetta Lavinia Grays performs as Intisar in "Veils" at Barrington Stage Company 10/04–1018; submitted photo

Donnetta Lavinia Grays performs as Intisar in “Veils” at Barrington Stage Company 10/04–1018; submitted photo

Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Intisar) Brooklyn based actor and playwright. Acting credits – Broadway: In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, Well. New York: Clubbed Thumb, Ars Nova, Primary Stages, New York Stage and Film and The Civilians Regional: A.C.T, Portland Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Centerstage, The Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. 2 Time Connecticut Critics Circle Award winner and a Helen Hayes Award nominee. Plays include Sam, The Review and The New Normal, among others. Inaugural Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award recipient, O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist and Todd McNerny National New Play Award recipient.

 

Hend Ayoub

Hend Ayoub performs as Samar in "Veils" 10/4–10/18 at Barrington Stage Company.

Hend Ayoub performs as Samar in “Veils” 10/4–10/18 at Barrington Stage Company.

Hend Ayoub (Samar) BSC debut. Hend’s theater credits include Broadway’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo starring Robin Williams as well as its previous run at Los Angeles Mark Taper Forum and Veils world premiere production at Portland Stage. She was nominated for best actress in the 2013 Planet Connections theatre awards in NYC. TV credits include Showtime’s Homeland, Damages, USA’s Royal Pains, Comedy Central’s The Watch List, and back home was a series regular on Sesame Street.  In film, she co-starred in the Emmy Award-winning film Death of a President and the award-winning film Private.

Artistic Director Julianne Boyd sits down with Tom Coash, the playwright of VEILS.

Hoba Hoba Spirit

Hoba Hoba Spirit is a blend of musical ancestry, languages, and moods that is infinitely listenable.

Hoba Hoba Spirit is a blend of musical ancestry, languages, and moods that is infinitely listenable.

Big shout-out of thanks to Hoba Hoba Spirit for allowing the use of their music in this episode!

 

Our opening song was “Black Moussiba,” off their 2010 release Nefs & Niya — Lyrics

Between conversations we, heard the intro to “Marock’n Roll II”, from Trabando, 2007.

We closed out this episode with the title track “Trabando,” from Trabando, 2007 — Lyrics

A Special Note of Thanks…

Thanks so much to FreeSFX for the use of the stock audio of an orchestra tuning up. Check out their offerings at http://www.freesfx.co.uk

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