|DISGRACED at Pendragon Theatre|
There is nothing color-blind about Akhtar's play and Director Kimberley A. Bouchard's cast drives that point through with pinpoint accuracy. Each character is pinned to his/her skin color, ethnic traits, or cultural differences.
The play opens in the Upper East Side Manhattan apartment of Emily Hughes-Kapoor (Mackenzie Barmen) and Amir Kapoor (Anthony Michael Irizaary). Emily is an artist searching for her breakout piece experimenting in her husband's cultural Indian patterns. He is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer working toward making partner while scrubbing that very ethnicity.
Scene, lighting, and sound designer Kent Barrett uses elegance and texture through materials, lights, and sound to create the sophisticated dwelling of this Upper Eastside couple. The mirrored wall is a powerful weapon as it reflects the emotions of the Kapoors and their guests throughout the performance.
Barmen's Emily is riveting as the white wife who brushes off her husband's fears as a post 9/11 Muslim in the States. Barmen drives her character with just the right touch of naivety. All stereotypical blonde and blue eyed, Emily has married into her husband's Islamic culture through her art, but not enough to convert. She wants to just choose the beauty and complexity of the Islamic patterns without the complexity of the religion and culture.
Kapoor can't escape his past. He has changed his last name and his social security to distance himself from his past. He lies about his motives and a drunken confession opens up how his family's own racism shaped him. His nephew Abe (Lucky Cerrutti) chastises him for not being truthful to his heritage.
Cerrutti plays Abe like a card shark, not letting go of his whole hand at the first meeting. He is saying all the right things, encouraging his Aunt Emily to have the infatuated Kapoor meet with an imprisoned Iman. After a paper mentions Kapoor and his law firm as representing an alleged terrorist, Kapoor structured life spins out of control.
Irizaary as Kapoor, making his Pendragon debut, is brilliant, plain and simple. One moment he is confident attorney, but in a flash he is the religiously persecuted. His movements are exacting and words precise. He draws the audience into his drama, whether its rage, deep sorrow, fear, or passion for what he can't explain.
Summary: DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar connects people through cultural differences, while dissecting their prejudices. A simple dinner party pulls apart people's defenses rather than through the pretenses of a colorblind society.
Admission: $15/children under 18 or matinee performances, $22/Seniors 65+, $25/adults
Amir – Anthony Irizarry
Abe – Lucky Cerutti
Movers: Sarah Benamati, Natalie Orman
© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series. Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy, short Adirondack family hikes for ADK kids, parents, retired, seniors, dog-owners, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebooks online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.