Food for Thought

Thought-provoking production brings different points of view from around the world

Sometimes it’s not the food at a dinner party, but rather the subject matter that’s brought to the table that causes stomachs to churn, and the evening to turn sour. Such is the case with the award-winning play Disgraced, which will be performed by the Nevada Conservatory Theatre and presented by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Performing Arts Center at the 160-seat Black Box Theater in the Alta Ham Fine Arts Building, March 31 through April 9.
This five-actor vehicle, which was the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has a lot on its plate: namely sex, religion and cultural assimilation. The plot centers around Amir Kapoor, a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. Emily, his wife, is white; she’s an artist, and her work is influenced by Islamic imagery. When the couple hosts a dinner party with their two best friends, an African-American lawyer and his Jewish visual arts curator wife, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging.
“In 2015–16, Disgraced was the most produced play in regional theater,” said Chris Edwards, Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s artistic director, who also is producing this play for the venue. “It couldn’t be timelier, due to the proposed Muslim ban and immigration issues. One of its major themes is Islamophobia. “Amir Kapoor is a high-powered corporate lawyer who changed his name to an Indian name to avoid a post-911 backlash, but has been asked by his nephew to represent an Islamic imam, who is a cleric, being held in prison in the United States,” he added. “Amir says he can’t do it because it would be career suicide, but goes to watch the court proceedings to placate his nephew and ends up being photographed by The New York Tines and The Wall Street Journal, which positions him as defending the imam.

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