Three MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) actors converge at a theater and gather around a dining table. They have been called to this place to celebrate, to eat, and to drink. But something about the meal is different. Relics of the past mysteriously begin to emerge, transforming the communion into an unexpected journey of memory and imagination across time, geography, identity, and politics. As time and space collide and past and present blur, the actors enter into each other’s dreams and navigate through fragments of individual and collective histories in search of connection and belonging. They may not fully understand the seemingly illogical events and narratives that unfold, but the quest will ultimately force the actors to confront the very nature of what they think of as exile and home.
Dreaming in Exile is an immersive dream play that adapts, extends, and complicates Strindberg's A Dream Play and Chekhov's Three Sisters through the hearts and minds of MENA artists. Integrating theater, dance, and digital media, in this work, Kasra and Kassim reflect on the notion of home to examine the tension between resilience and vulnerability, remembering and forgetting, and here and there.
Mona Kasra is an Iranian American new media artist and interdisciplinary scholar. Her practice-based research questions, critiques, and experiments with the affordances of media technologies within artistic forms and in a variety of improvisational framings. She frequently collaborates with theater makers and choreographers to explore the confluence between performance, design, and new media, particularly the new aesthetic possibilities for enriching narrative and enhancing audience immersion in live events. Her work has been exhibited in art galleries and film festivals in the US and around the world, and she has juried, curated, and programmed for many exhibitions, festivals, and conferences. She holds an MFA in Video Art and a PhD in Arts & Technology, and is Associate Professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Virginia. www.monakasra.com
Adam M. Kassim is a theater director, educator, and arts facilitator. He has collaborated on projects with Target Margin Theater, Mosaic Theater Company, Kennedy Center, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, New Repertory Theater, and SpeakEasy Stage. Adam grew up in South Carolina and considers himself the gay, Palestinian American embodiment of Anne of Green Gables. Adam is an Artistic Producer at Target Margin and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their two fur babies. National Directors Fellow ‘20. MFA, Boston University ‘21. For more information, visit www.adamkassim.com.