Written by Anand Rao
Directed by Kim T. Sharp
Preview by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
As Islamophobia continues to make headlines, a new play presenting a bold new perspective on the topic is set to make its debut in New York on 9/12, a day after the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
At the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan, on the day after the 9/11 anniversary, a new play by Anand Rao will have its much-awaited debut. A one of its kind story “A Muslim in the Midst” is probably the only play that deals with the immediate aftermath of 9/11 as seen through the eyes of ordinary people outside the United States. The story is set in the Silicon Valley of India – Bangalore. A city that has close connections to the US through its IT industry and the large expatriate population that calls the city home. The premise to this intense drama is inspired by real events, Playwright Anand Rao experienced when he worked as a journalist in Bangalore.
An affluent Hindu couple, both executives of American companies come across a poor Muslim couple seeking a ride three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on NYC. They decide to invite them into their car, opening an ideological dialogue that reveals their primal fears, prejudices – frightening and surprisingly universal in nature.
With almost 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe (that’s about 24% of the world’s population), the perception of Muslims – and what the attack on September 11th did to help change that view – is as much a topic of discussion today as it was in the days following the September 11th attacks.
This play by Anand Rao gives life to a moment in history from a perspective never before seen on a New York stage, and given the climate of today’s presidential election, a rise in the fear of terrorism following the attacks in Paris, Istanbul and closer home in San Bernardinho, this play is long overdue.
Speaking to Theatre Reviews Limited about “A Muslim in the Midst,”playwright Anand Rao says, “the play raises important questions as the characters grapple with their self-imposed limitations to find answers to their fears and prejudices. It is a reflection of the times we live in and the increasing need for discovering a common fellowship based on humanity and empathy. It focuses on the need for an ongoing debate that transcends cultures and borders.”
Currently, Mr. Rao lives in NJ just across the river from Manhattan, NY, and works as an independent management consultant and part-time academic. He has written two plays ‘The Dissent’ and ‘A Muslim in the Midst’ and is working on a few other scripts simultaneously.
Anand has an M.B.A. from the Westminster College, and Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Utah. He also has a B.A., and M.A., in English Literature in addition to Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in English literature from Universities in India.