I first heard about Rohina Malik’s work when she wrote and performed her one-woman show, Unveiled, in which she played five distinct Muslim women discussing their choice to cover their heads—and the resulting discrimination they encountered, especially after 9/11. This play demonstrated Rohina’s ability to challenge stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community, of which she is a part—and to do so with grace and humor. I was thrilled, a short time later, to encounter Yasmina’s Necklace: a play that explores two very different Muslim families coming together as their children embark on a romantic relationship. Like Unveiled, Yasmina’s Necklace shows us individuals wrestling with their life circumstances—as we all do, regardless of our cultural backgrounds—while also providing a glimpse into a cultural milieu that may be unfamiliar to many audience members.
In 2009, we showcased Yasmina’s Necklace as part of our New Stages Festival. Though it was only performed as a staged reading, I remember vividly the keenness with which the audience absorbed the story, laughing at the play’s improbable humor while simultaneously being moved by the tender, difficult American tale at its core. Eight years later, we are proud to present a full production of Yasmina’s Necklace, which has undergone extensive development in the interim, including a successful production at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn directed by Ann Filmer. By including the play in our 2009 New Stages Festival, the Goodman began a relationship with Rohina, which continued when we invited her to be a part of our 2010/2011 Playwrights Unit, a carefully curated group of local writers who each develop a play over the course of a season. Through programs such as New Stages and the Playwrights Unit, the Goodman supports emerging writers as they cultivate their skills and develop their unique voices. Rohina is one of many young playwrights whose work energizes me, and I am pleased to welcome her back to the Goodman. I am equally pleased by the return of Ann Filmer as director; Ann previously helmed Chicago Boys in our 2011 New Stages Festival and productions in our David Mamet Festival, and was the 2004/2005 recipient of our Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship, a program for up-and-coming directors. It has been my honor to lend support to both of these extraordinary women’s careers in their earlier stages, and now I am enormously proud to present their work to a larger audience.
I hope this work will move you, as it has moved me, to laugh, to cry, or to reexamine assumptions surrounding Muslim communities.
Buy tickets and learn more about Yasmina’s Necklace here. Tickets start at just $10!