World Voices International Play Festival, May 1, 2, and May 7

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Announces

 The 2017 PEN World Voices: International Play Festival

Featuring plays by internationally acclaimed playwrights: HAKIM BAH (Guinea), PATRICIA CORNELIUS (Australia), RAMA HAYDAR (Syria), EUNSUNG KIM (South Korea), Mîrza Metîn (Turkey), BASHAR MURKUS (Palestine), SASHA MARIANNA SALZMANN (Germany), NATAL’YA VOROZHBIT (Ukraine), and MARCIA ZANELATTO (Brazil)


May 1 & May 2: The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,

The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street May 7: Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E 3rd Street All Day –

FREE – First Come, First Served

(March 21, 2017, New York, NY) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center announces the complete line-up of its annual PEN World Voices International Play Festival, running May 1, 2 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (365 Fifth Avenue, New York), and Sunday, May 7 at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 E 3rd St, New, New York).  All readings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED basis.

As part of the 2017 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, The Segal Center will showcase play readings by nine voices from around the world. With the writers hailing from five different continents, the International Play Festival generates a conversation on art, politics, dreams, war, and philosophy, meant to give American audiences a rich awareness of the greater global dialogue. All readings will be followed by discussion with the playwright.

“International exchange at the artistic level becomes all the more salient in our current political climate. At its core, art is about empathy and understanding. In times of uncertainty, it is important that we reach out. The PEN World voices International Play Festival is the Segal Center’s way of reaching out,” says Frank Hentschker, Segal Center Executive Director and festival founder.

Founded in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen, and Michael Roberts with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the U.S. and the world, PEN World Voices is the only international literary festival in America, and the only one in the world with a human rights focus.

The thirteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival will take on some of the vital issues of the Trump-era, with a special focus on today’s restive relationship between gender and power. Taking place in New York City, May 1-7, 2017, the weeklong festival will use the lens of literature and the arts to confront new challenges to free expression and human rights—issues that have been core to PEN America’s mission since its founding. At this historic moment of both unprecedented attacks on core freedoms and the emergence of new forms of resistance, the Festival will offer a platform for a global community of writers, artists and thinkers to connect with concerned citizens and the broader public to fight back against bigotry, hatred and isolationism.

The 2017 PEN World Voices International Play Festival has been made possible by the support of Susan and Jack Rudin(†) and Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Chair, The Graduate Center CUNY.

The PEN World Voices International Play Festival was conceived and created by Frank Hentschker in 2005. 2017 Festival Co-Curator, Antje Oegel. Assistant Curator: Soriya K. Chum. 2017 Festival Producer, Brooke Christensen.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R. Info: 212-817-1860.

All plays in English.

4:00pm SHIT  I Patricia Cornelius (Australia)
Directed by Katie Pearl

Out of control girls, angry, nasty girls are a sight to behold. They’re terrifying, electrifying, they’re everything girls shouldn’t be, and we hate them. This is a work about these girls. Their names are Billy, Bobby and Sam.

6:00pm TAKE OUT THE RUBBISH, SASHA  I  Natal’ya Vorozhbit (Ukraine) Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Sarah Hughes

In Kiev, Katya and Oksana prepare a funeral meal for their beloved husband, stepfather and Army colonel Sasha. But he isn’t going without a fight. The women in his life and the country need him.

8:00pm HUNGRY DOGS  I  Mîrza Metîn (Turkey)
Translated by Lucy Wood
Directed by Dan Safer

Twin brothers Beşer and Beşir, who lost their parents in war, migrated as teenagers to Istanbul. After many years of separation they meet again, when Beşer enters Beşir’s house with a stolen safety box.

4:00pm TRANSCENES: Four Short Plays from Brazil
Works by Marcia Zanelatto (Curator), Jô Bilac, Daniela Pereira de Carvalho, and Joaquim Vicente.

Curated by Marcia Zanelatto (Brazil) & translated by Emily Walsh
Directed by Katherine Brook

Short plays about gender identity in Brazil: a judicial fight, a dinner with a murderer, the death of the mother and a flower leads a rally.

 6:00pm TICHA-TICHA I  Hakim Bah (Guinea)
Translated by Heather Denyer
Directed by Ethan McSweeney

Ticha-Ticha awaits the return of Michael, the love of her life, who is, however, drawn to her daughter, Penda. This intense and poetic play deals with love, lust, female genital mutilation, and murder.

8:00pm METEORITES  I  Sasha Marianna Salzmann (Germany)
Translated by Jenny Piening
Directed by Mallory Catlett

Germany is in the World Cup final; Berlin is dreaming again of a summer fairy tale to forget the world torn by wars. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Salzmann sends her protagonists on a seemingly endless search for a new self, which denies traditional concepts of identity.

4:00pm Desert of Light  I  Rama Haydar (Syria)
Translated by Rama Haydar & Rebekah Maggor
Directed by Rebekah Maggor

As the 2012 brutal siege rages outside, two Palestinian refugees debate the best plan of escape. Set outside Damascus in the Yarmouk refugee camp, this black tragicomedy reveals the catastrophic absurdity of the Syrian civil war.

6:00pm Parallel Time  I  Bashar Murkus (Palestine)
Translated by Rebekah Maggor
Directed by Rebekah Maggor

Parallel Time, a disturbingly humorous prison play, evokes the daily struggle of life behind bars for a group of Palestinian inmates. It follows their collective fight to overcome the despair of long-term incarceration.

 8:00pm Sister Mok-Rahn  I  Eunsung Kim (South Korea)
Translated by Dayoung Jeong
Directed by Seonjae Kim

Desperate to reunite with her parents, a North Korean defector decides to return to her nation’s capital, Pyongyang. All she needs is 50 million won. Thus she is forced to navigate South Korean capitalism.

ABOUT THE MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER: Originally founded in 1979 as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA), The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center was renamed in March of 1999 to recognize Martin E. Segal, one of New York City’s outstanding leaders of the arts. The Segal Center curates over thirty events throughout the Spring and Fall academic seasons, all free and open to the public. Dedicated to bridging the gap between the professional and academic theatre communities, the Segal Center presents readings, performance, lectures, and artists and academics in conversation. In addition, the Segal Center presents three annual festivals (PRELUDE, PEN World Voices: International Pay Festival, and The Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance) and publishes and maintains three open access online journals (Arab Stages, European Stages, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre). The Segal Center also publishes many volumes of plays in translation and is the leading publisher of plays from the Arab world. The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a vital component of the Theatre Program’s academic culture and creating in close collaboration a research nexus, focusing on dramaturgy, new media, and global theatre. The Segal Center provides an intimate platform where both artists and theatre professionals can actively participate with audiences to advance awareness and appreciation.

THE GRADUATE CENTER, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, of which the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is an integral part, is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-eight interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, The Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.


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