The Play Company
“Set in an urgently contemporary New York, the play is a slyly entertaining comedy with a sharp political edge.” – The New York Times
“Hits all the right notes on the way to its moving conclusion, managing to infuriate, then amuse, then enthrall.” – Variety
“Exposes a truth that might not be intuitive – theater can be subversive, even defiant, and at the same time sweetly charming. Highly theatrical and original.” – AP
“If you’ve ever wished somebody would write a razor-sharp play anatomizing lazy paranoia about the Middle East – somebody has.” – The Village Voice
“Stunningly funny, ominously good. Witty and fleet, and always three clicks ahead of our expectations.” – New York Magazine
INVASION! — Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Obie Award-winning play that enjoyed considerable critical and popular success during its U.S. premiere by The Play Company last winter — will have a return engagement Off-Broadway this fall, again presented by The Play Company, with previews starting September 6 prior to an official press opening on September 13 at The Flea Theater (41 White Street) in Manhattan, where PlayCo will be based for the 2011-12 season, it has been announced by Kate Loewald, Founding Producer, and Lauren Weigel, Executive Producer of The Play Company. Erica Schmidt will again direct.
Mr. Khemiri is a Swedish-Tunisian playwright and novelist popular in Europe, only now becoming known in America with the premiere of INVASION! last winter, for which he won a 2011 Obie Award, along with the publication last March of his novel “Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger,” which marked Mr. Khemiri’s English-language literary debut.
The Play Company is an Off-Broadway theatre now in its 12th year, producing a global program of adventurous new plays by U.S. and international playwrights who bring unique perspectives on the world in the 21st century.
INVASION! — which played a sold-out engagement when it debuted in February 2011 at Walkerspace, and whose return engagement coincides with the 10th anniversary of 9.11.01 — is a subversive comedy about identity and stereotypes, centering on “Abulkasem,” a name mysteriously belonging to a wide assortment of characters in the play, leaving us to wonder, “Who is Abulkasem?” Is he a character in a fairy tale, or an international super-spy? Is she a renowned auteur director? Does he/she pose a clear and present danger? And is there really more than one?
About INVASION! The New York Times wrote, “Set in an urgently contemporary New York, the play is a slyly entertaining comedy with a sharp political edge.”
The Village Voice said, “If you’ve ever wished somebody would write a razor-sharp play anatomizing lazy paranoia about the Middle East – somebody has.”
New York Magazine called INVASION! “ Stunningly funny, ominously good. Witty and fleet, and always three clicks ahead of our expectations.”
Members of the original NY cast of INVASION! returning for the Off-Broadway engagement this fall include Francis Benhamou (THREE WOMEN at 59E59 Theaters), Andrew Guilarte (MARAT/SADE at Classical Theatre of Harlem), Bobby Moreno (AL’S BUSINESS CARDS with At Play), who will be joined by new cast member Nick Choksi (TV’s “Royal Pains”).
INVASION! has an English translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles, who also translated Mr. Khemiri’s novel “Montecore.” INVASION! is the second project – following its acclaimed production of Toshiki Okada’s ENJOY two years ago at 59E59 Theaters— of PlayCo’s Universal Voices Translation Program, which commissions American translations of foreign-language plays.
About the return of INVASION! Ms. Loewald says “This play connected with New Yorkers in a very exciting way last winter. We weren’t able to extend the run then because the venue was unavailable, but we knew there was an appetite for the show. We’re very excited to be bringing it back at the Flea this fall, so that more people can see it, and especially because the show asks important questions of all of us as we mark the 10th anniversary of 9.11.01. Jonas uses wit and theatricality to talk about serious racial and cultural divisions in our society. He broke new ground in Swedish theatre and literature with his themes and his beautiful love of language, and the response to his work here has been equally electric. The Flea’s great history of bold, innovative work will create a wonderful setting for this encore production, and we’re thrilled that PlayCo will be based there this season.”
Scenic design for INVASION! is by Antje Ellermann; costume design is by Oana Botez Ban; lighting design is by Matthew Richards; and sound design is by Bart Fasbender.
About the Playwright
Mr. Khemiri is an acclaimed author and playwright of Tunisian and Swedish parentage. INVASION! is his first play, and it has enjoyed considerable success in New York, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Austria and the United Kingdom. He won Sweden’s top literary prizes for his novels “One Eye Red,” and “Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger”. Like INVASION!, “Montecore” — published in the U.S. by Random House earlier this year, coinciding with the initial run of INVASION! — deals with culture and language in its tale of a son in Sweden and his estranged father in Tunisia. In a review of “Montecore,” The New York Times Book Review wrote, “The novel is at its most exciting on the level of linguistic performance. A constantly changing creole, its voice shifts registers and references, revealing the substantial emotional gaps that open up in characters and cultures when they’re remixed in this way.” SAM: Wondering if we need to talk so much about Montecore this time – ok with me if you think it’s important. It does help give a broad view of Khemiri’s work.
About the Director
Erica Schmidt co-created and directed Lorenzo Pisoni’s multiple award-winning HUMOR ABUSE, as well as PlayCo’s production of TRUST by Gary Mitchell, THE BURNT PART BOYS at Vineyard Theatre and New York Stage and Film, and HONEY BROWN EYES presented by The Working Theater. She also wrote the book of the musical DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, which she also directed.
About The Company
The Play Company is dedicated to adventurous new writing by playwrights from the U.S. and around the world, linking NYC artists and audiences to a whole world of plays. Recent productions include the U.S. premiere of ENJOY (Japan), the NY premiere of Lloyd Suh’s AMERICAN HWANGAP (U.S.), the U.S. premieres of Przemyslaw Wojcieszek’s MADE IN POLAND (Poland); Robert Farquhar’s BAD JAZZ (England), Vijay Tendulkar’s SAKHARAM BINDER (India); Yoji Sakate’s THE ATTIC (Japan); and The Presnyakov Brothers’ TERRORISM (Russia); as well as world premieres of the American plays SMASHING by Brooke Berman, HIGH DIVE by Leslie Ayvazian and EDGEWISE by Eliza Clark. Play Co. received a 2007 Obie Award for its “unique contribution to the theatre community.”