WE ARE AMEENA

WE ARE AMEENA is a musical that tells the story of a young Syrian girl (Ameena) and her family who fled the civil war to find themselves resettled in New York City.  In the first of its kind, we meet Ameena, her father (Ammar), and her older brother (Talal) as the opening scene begins in Syria and is played out in Arabic (with no subtitles).  Ameena dreams of being a poet and songwriter while Talal is arriving after completing the first stage of medical school -- continuing his dream of following in his father’s footsteps.  During the first song, the Syrian civil war breaks out and their hopes, dreams and family are shattered.  Through the song we travel to America, where we find June (the youngest member of the Davis family) waiting for the return of her brother (Jack) who has completed his military tour in the Middle East.  As different culturally as the two families are, the scenes mirror one another as we travel across the globe.

 

When Jack and Ameena first meet, they find themselves able to connect and understand one another through their shared experiences, curiosity and human emotion.  Jack can hear the poems in Ameena’s head, and she is bewildered by this at first and hesitant to admit her own captivation.  But Jack recognizes their bond and pursues a playful banter with Ameena. It is met with anger by her brother (Talal). As we learn to see the world through Talal’s eyes we recognize how much he is struggling with the loss of his own fate and dreams. To add the loss of control over his sister and family’s future makes his life unmanageable. But Talal’s actions only lead to bringing Jack and Ameena closer together.

 

Jack manages to convince Ameena’s father to allow her to accept an invitation to his family home for dinner.  But when Jack’s parents (primarily his mother, Martha, and sister, June) meet Ameena they are unable to see past her hijab. They cover their true feelings well, but all is revealed as we see the inner thoughts of Martha and how her fear of an unfamiliar culture is represented in the girl her son brought home.  The fears that consume her are transmitted to those around her. As the conflicted emotions from both family sides reach a climax the unexpected occurs and we see the true result of how cultural barriers, fear and misunderstanding will only lead to the downfall of all.

 

This new project is a powerful soul/rock musical which reveals the fears of Islamophobia that subsist in our society today and how many immigrants face the underlined issues of such, daily.  It reveals the pending doom that will follow if we transmit our fears and ignorance as opposed to finding ways to transform them into understandings and commonalities.   WE ARE AMEENA brings to the forefront the issues that inhibit us all from joining together in full unity around the questions of cultural diversity and coexistence.

Writer/Director: Adam Karsten

Additional Scenes: Tarik Akaaboune & Alma Moya

Co-Creator/Choreographer: Karen Sieber

Music/Lyrics: Nicola Vazquez

Additional Lyrics: Adam Karsten

THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS HAVE GIVEN LIFE TO OUR CHARACTERS

Ramin Karimloo.................................................. Talal

Ani Djirjidian................................................. Ameena

Conor Ryan........................................................... Jack

Stephanie Gibson........................................... Martha

Kally Duling.......................................................... June

Deven Kolluri.................................................. Ammar

Jillian-Marie Sayegh....................................... Mother

Katrina Colletti............................................Company

Josh Meredith..............................................Company

Kayla Walsh..................................................Company

MY NAME AIN'T MARY - Ani Djirdjirian
00:00 / 00:00
CANYONS & CATHEDRALS - Ani Djirdjirian & Conor Ryan
00:00 / 00:00
ONE LIFE - Ani Djirdjirian & Conor Ryan
00:00 / 00:00
THINK TWICE - Stephanie Gibson & Kally Duling
00:00 / 00:00
LIGHTHOUSE - Kally Duling, Ani Djirdjirian & Conor Ryan
00:00 / 00:00

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