Pulitzer-Winning Drama “Disgraced” Back to China 2018!

2018 Inaugural Season of The Great Theater of China

    Pulitzer-Winning Drama “Disgraced” Back to China 2018!

    2018 Inaugural Season of The Great Theater of China

    Terrific, turbulent, with fresh currents of dramatic electricity, Disgraced comes roaring to life on Broadway!

    The New York Times

    Ayad Akhtar finds urgent dramatic connections that serious theatergoers crave.

    The Washington Post

    About “Disgraced”

    “Disgraced” is the story of a Pakistani-American lawyer living the American dream - an Upper East Side apartment, expensive suits, happy marriage, and the promise of becoming partner at his law firm. He and his wife, a Caucasian artist, invite his African American colleague and her Jewish husband for a dinner party. The heated discussion that erupts reveals hidden aspirations, fractured views on cultural assimilation, and the lies we tell ourselves and those we love to “fit into” the American Dream. Disgraced won the 2013 Obie Award for Extraordinary Achievement and was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.

    About Playwright

    Ayad Akhtar

    Ayad’s plays include Disgraced (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 2013 Obie Award for Extraordinary Achievement), The Who & The What (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and La Jolla Playhouse), and The Invisible Hand (The Repertory Theater of St. Louis). Also a novelist, Akhtar is the author of American Dervish, published in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company, published in 20 languages worldwide. He co-wrote and starred in The War Within (Magnolia Pictures), which was released internationally and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. As an actor, Akhtar also starred as Neel Kashkari in HBO’s adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book Too Big to Fail. He studied at Brown University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
    Play Reviews:

    ... (“Disgraced”) is a neat piece that hits the nail on the head ... The play does not confine itself to facing political and ideological challenges in the American context but tells of the cultural trends in transition during the entire 20th century.

    -- JL, theater critic/art teacher

    You probably would not feel simply sympathetic to or disgusted with any of the characters in Disgraced because every one of them has a skeleton in the closet and a jaundiced eye. The playwright knits together the arguments with sophistication and leaves space for respect to all of them.

    -- Luofan Fei, theater critic/blogger

    In terms of artistry, the script is concise and coherent, and the witty, eloquent dialogues have a magnetic effect. The performance of the crew was very natural, complemented by well-designed staging and lighting. What is brilliant and hard to come by about “Disgraced” is its daring truthfulness in uncovering and representing the core problems of modern society. Some among the audience have called upon news professionals in China to learn from this play … for “Disgraced” at its very beginning, tears the veil over reality and initiates a serious reflection on art.

    -- Slash, writer/filmmaker

    About Director

    Timothy Douglas

    Timothy is a New York based theatre director, actor, writer and educator who currently serves as an Associate Artist for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where he has staged the world premiere of SAFE HOUSE, JITNEY, BUZZER, CLYBOURNE PARK, The NORTH POOL, MOTHERS & SONS, and TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. He was the Associate Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville from 2001 through 2004 where he directed numerous projects including three Humana Festival premieres, the 25th anniversary production of CRIMES OF THE HEART, and introduced audiences there to August Wilson with his productions of The PIANO LESSON, JITNEY and FENCES. From 1994 - 1997 he served as a director-in-residence in new play development at the Mark Taper Forum/Center Theatre Group under a Mellon Foundation fellowship. During his time as an NEA/TCG directing fellow he served as Resident Director at New Dramatists and Assistant Stage Director on Handel’s RODELINDA for Virginia Opera. Most recently he served as director of Ione Lloyd’s EVE’S SONG for the Sundance Theatre Institute/Lab in Morocco, as well as productions of SEVEN GUITARS for Yale Rep, DISGRACED and KING HEDLEY II for Arena Stage, FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS Parts 1, 2 & 3 for Roundhouse Theatre, RICHARD II for Shakespeare & Company, and off-Broadway with BRONTË for the Alloy Theatre Company.
    Credits and Cast:

    Playwright: Ayad Akhtar

    Director: Timothy Douglas

    Cast: Andrew Guilarte, Ivy Vahanian, Ariel Shafir, Rachel Leslie, Tij Doyen

    Production: Ping Pong Productions

    Stage Design: Tony Cisek


    Lighting Design: Michael Gilliam

    Sound: Fitz Patton

    Stage Management: Lola Bao

    Director Q&A

    Q: How do you interpret the word "disgraced"?
    A: As it relates to the play, I would interpret ‘disgraced’ to be a context for the liabilities incurred as a result of cultural assimilation. In the case of Amir, who has consciously chosen to completely Americanize himself for several reasons - but ultimately toward the goal of achieving his perception of (the ever-shifting reality of) the ‘American Dream’. When any of us choose to assimilate, no matter how conscious we may be during the process, it is a given that there are intangible things that we sacrifice within our own beings that will eventually come to the light. In that moment of self-reckoning, we come to realize and identify just what those sacrifices are. Depending on where our moral compass is at that moment of revelation, those sacrifices that suddenly reveal themselves in detail, we come to realize just how great they are - for they often show up in the form of moral transgression - whether intended or not. If I had to give this self-imposed act of clarity a name, it would be ‘disgraced’.
    Q: I was shocked when Amir admitted that he felt a "blush of pride" when 9/11 happened. How do you interpret "pride" here?
    A: Exactly as Amir frames it ... ‘cultural’. I recall after I got over the initial shock of the events of 9/11, I mused to myself that finally America will have to come to terms with how so many of its geopolitical policies have negatively impacted other nations/cultures - particularly those in the Middle East. While I certainly don’t condone that unimaginable act of terrorism, it did succeed in getting our attention after generations of feelings of oppression and chronic frustration. I believe that Amir’s ‘pride’ speaks to the exact moment of psychic and emotional relief at feeling ‘heard’. Those who are not descended from such cultural oppression understandably find it near impossible to absorb the specificity and nuance of Amir’s declaration.

    Words from Artist

    Allow me to add, that I love PIng Pong Prod and am deeply aligned with their mission to improve China/US relation through the arts. It's a great honor to participate in this cultural exchange and be a part of a process that creates understanding and empathy between cultures when so little is known between the two countries. 'Disgraced' is no fluff piece and goes beyond mindless entertainment to engage real ideas and worldly issues that concern all parties. The diversity and talent of the cast/crew is an especially insightful and more accurate representation of America that no doubt Chinese citizens don't usually get to experience. Personally, it adds purpose to my craft when it is used as a communication bridge between cultures at a time when our leaders are fashioning travel bans and trade wars tinged with xenophobic epithets.

    - Ariel Shafir, “Disgraced” actor in Shanghai 2018


    Words from Ping Pong

    I would like to thank the audience in Shanghai and the Great Theatre of China. I first saw this play on Broadway in 2014, it has been three and a half years until Ping Pong is able to bring the full production Chinese premiere to Shanghai. A good art does not asked for applauses, it generates discussions and opens a door to a broader world for its viewers. Ping Pong Productions has brought “Disgraced” to China for the second time, and we hope this play will come back again soon and meet more audience in China.

    - Mengtong Guan Executive Director Ping Pong Productions