Play Examines Hidden Aspects of Racism; Director Tracy Brigden Acknowledges That the Pivotal Scene in "Disgraced" Sounds like the Beginning of a Bad Joke: A Muslim, a Jew, an African-American and a WASP Meet for Dinner. [Derived Headline]

By Carter, Alice T | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 11, 2016 | Go to article overview

Play Examines Hidden Aspects of Racism; Director Tracy Brigden Acknowledges That the Pivotal Scene in "Disgraced" Sounds like the Beginning of a Bad Joke: A Muslim, a Jew, an African-American and a WASP Meet for Dinner. [Derived Headline]


Carter, Alice T, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Director Tracy Brigden acknowledges that the pivotal scene in "Disgraced" sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: A Muslim, a Jew, an African-American and a WASP meet for dinner.

But what happens in Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is no joke.

As timely and provocative as an election debate or a cable TV roundtable, "Disgraced" examines prickly current-events issues of race, ethnicity and religion with candid and often funny dialogue.

"It's an important play, and so many people will get to see it. Not everyone is spending a lot of time thinking about the issues it raises," Brigden says.

Brigden is best known locally as the artistic director of City Theatre Company on the South Side.

But she has crossed the river to the O'Reilly Theatre to direct Akhtar's drama for Pittsburgh Public Theater.

"I have read all of his plays and am a fan of his writing and a fan of any play that takes on the zeitgeist," Brigden says.

While it focuses on contemporary real-life political and social issues, it also offers a compelling tale. "It is a well-formed, structured and fully realized story," she says.

"This is not a political diatribe. These are real people who are smart and funny and then (events) take a turn," Brigden says. "In the true tradition of great dinner-party plays, all this thought- provoking, challenging plot comes out of a smart and snappy mixture (of people and opinions)."

Its setting is an upscale East Side Manhattan apartment that is home to Amir, a successful and ambitious corporate lawyer who is also a Pakistani-American, and his white wife, Emily, an artist interested in Islamic forms. …

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Play Examines Hidden Aspects of Racism; Director Tracy Brigden Acknowledges That the Pivotal Scene in "Disgraced" Sounds like the Beginning of a Bad Joke: A Muslim, a Jew, an African-American and a WASP Meet for Dinner. [Derived Headline]
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