Ayad Akhtar (playwright) and Kimberly Senior (director) made their NYC debuts at LCT3 last season with Ayad's play DISGRACED...and then DISGRACED won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama! We're excited for Ayad and Kimberly's return to LCT3 with Ayad's highly-anticipated new play, THE WHO & THE WHAT. The title refers to philosopher Jacques Derrida's ideas about loving "the who" (the core essence of a person) versus "the what" (the tangible qualities - like beauty, intelligence, or a sense of humor - that can describe a person). Basically, do you love someone, or do you love something ABOUT someone?
To kick off the first day of rehearsal, Kimberly spoke about the play's central love story between Zarina (a brilliant Pakistani-American writer) and Eli (a white convert to Islam). She spoke about what drives Zarina to write the book she's writing, which raises controversial questions about the Prophet, and women and Islam. And she spoke about the co-existence of two opposing ideas - a concept that plays a particularly large role in the life of Zarina, who both respects and challenges Islamic traditions and beliefs.
Based on these ideas and from their research into the background of the characters, the designers gave us a sneak peek at their plans for the production. Check back soon for that and for more about the LCT3 production of Ayad Akhtar's THE WHO & THE WHAT!
Natasha Sinha is the LCT3 Associate.