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Wendy R. Williams'
May 2008 Theatre Column

May 15, 2008

This month I saw only one play, the devastating Betrayed at the Culture Project. Betrayed tells the story of three Iraqis, two men and a woman, who worked for the American government and became targets for the insurgency.

Here is a quote from the press release for the show: “In early 2007, The New Yorker writer George Packer published an article about the desperate situation of the Iraqis, who had risked their lives to help the American effort in their country and were being hunted down as a result, with little or no U.S. protection. The aticle helped draw national attention to a humanitarian crisis and a moral scandal.”


Pippin Parker's Betrayed

The Iraqis interpreters and aides were our voices and our ears in Iraq and it is simply unconscionable not to protect them after they risked their lives to help us. We have imposed some very strict immigration rules since 9/11, one of the results being that more Iraqis have been relocated to Sweden than to the USA. And we have not always been so closed minded and cruel. President Gerald Ford welcomed the Vietnamese refuges to the United States. But our present President, George Bush, refuses to make an exception to relocate the Iraqis to the United States because he has a Captain Ahab like belief that he is winning the war.

The play is both beautiful and wrenching. The actors do a wonderful job of portraying their characters, but it is not easy to sit through a play that depicts us (the United States) as the bad guys. But we are guilty. We voted in President Bush and did nothing to stop the war so the brutalization of Iraq is our collective shame. And whoever is elected in the next election will have the monumental task of returning the United States to its position as a moral leader.

Betrayed is directed by Pippin Parker and stars: Aadya Bedi; Ramsey Faragallah; Sevan Greene; Christopher Kromer; Eric Troy Miller; Waleed F. Zuaiter; and Ramiz Mosef.

Betrayed runs Monday – Saturday on 8:00PM and Saturday and Sunday at 3:00PM through June 28, 2008. Tickets are $36 at ovationtix.com. The Culture Project-SoHo is located at 55 Mercer St., New York, NY 10013. For more information, lot onto their website. cultureproject.org.

P. S. There is an excellent article in the New York Times about the plight of the Iraqis interpreters.

P. P. S. If you want to know how you can help, log onto thelistproject.org.

On another (cheerier) note, I just received this press release from Jim Baldassare:


The 64th annual Theatre World Award winners for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut performances during the 2007-2008 theatrical season are:

de'Adre Aziza, Passing Strange
Cassie Beck, Drunken City
Daniel Breaker, Passing Strange
Ben Daniels, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Hoon Lee, Yellow Face
Alli Mauzey, Cry-Baby
Jenna Russell, Sunday in the Park with George
Mark Rylance, Boeing-Boeing
Loretta Ables Sayre, South Pacific
Jimmi Simpson, The Farnsworth Invention
Paulo Szot, South Pacific

The Theatre World Awards presentation will be held at the Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street, in an invitation-only ceremony, Tuesday, June 10, 2008 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Peter Filichia will host, Barry Keating will direct, and Scott Denny, Kati Meister and Erin Oestreich are the event's producers. John Willis, founder of the Theatre World Awards, will be in attendance.

First presented in 1945, the prestigious Theatre World Awards are the oldest awards given for Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances, and are among the oldest honors given to stage performers. The Theatre World Award winners have been chosen by the Theatre World Awards committee, currently comprised of Peter Filichia (TheaterMania), Harry Haun (Playbill), Matthew Murray (Talkin' Broadway), Frank Scheck (New York Post), Michael Sommers (Newhouse Newspapers), Doug Watt (Critic Emeritus, New York Daily News), and Linda Winer (New York Newsday).

Theatre World is the authoritative annual pictorial and statistical record of the American theatre, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and regional theatre. Theatre World is published by Applause Books.

The Theatre World Award Board of Directors is: Leigh Giroux (President), Kati Meister (Vice President), Erin Oestreich (Secretary), Scott Denny (Treasurer), Tom Lynch (Founding Board member), and Barry Keating. For more information about the Theatre World Awards (including a list of past recipients) please visit: theatreworldawards.org.


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