Announcing PEN World Voices International Play Festival April 16, 17, 21

Press Contact: Paloma Estevez


The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Announces
The 2018 PEN World Voices International Play Festival
10 playwrights, 10 countries, 4 continents, 3 days.

Running April 16, 17 and 21 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, the 2018 PEN World Voices International Play Festival features staged readings by ten internationally acclaimed playwrights. All readings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street


(March 29, 2018, New York, NY) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is happy to announce the full line-up of its annual PEN World Voices International Play Festival. As part of the 2018 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, the International Play Festival will showcase play readings by ten voices from around the globe. With playwrights hailing from four different continents, the Festival aims to enrich awareness of global dialogues, by bridging American audiences and international theatre-makers. All readings will be followed by discussion with the playwrights and directors.

“Programming this year was inspired by the shifting power of politics, the rise of right conservatism in Europe and the U.S, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, amongst other pressing issues. We envision that in bringing diverse stories, we will be able to understand who we are. In the service of International exchange, artistic programming becomes an imperative responsibility in the midst of our current political climate. If we do not do this now, then when?” says Frank Hentschker, Segal Center Executive Director and festival founder.

The 2018 Festival’s program features work by: MAGALI MOUGEL (France), MIHAELA DRĂGAN (Romania), STEFANO MASSINI (Italy), LIWAA YAZJI (Syria), ARISTIDE TARNAGDA (Burkina Faso), ELFRIEDE JELINEK (Austria), WEI YU-CHIA (Taiwan), EDOUARD ELVIS BVOUMA (Cameroon), ANA LUZ ORMAZABAL (Chile), and YONATAN LEVY (Israel).

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. Since its founding, PEN World Voices has presented more than 1,500 writers and artists from 118 countries, speaking 56 languages.

The 2018 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. 2018 Festival Producer, Yu Chien Liu. Festival Curator: Frank Hentschker

For further information on the 2018 PEN World Voices International Play Festival, and all of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s ongoing programming, please visit

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.




SUZY STORCK | Magali Mougel (France)
Translated by Chris Campbell.
Directed by Sara Rademacher.
Another unbearably hot evening. Suzy Storck sits by the window. A glass of wine. A bottle. Three. Her husband has left. Maybe he’s coming home. Maybe he’s not. The radio buzzes. And still, the sun will just not set.

DEL DUMA / TELL THEM ABOUT ME! | Mihaela Drăgan (Romania)
Translated by Claudia Campeanu.
Directed by George Eli.
Real stories about how four Roma women deal with life, social pressure, early marriage and dreams of escape. A serious solo-comedy performed by the Roma author.

INTRACTABLE WOMAN | Stefano Massini (Italy)
Translated by Paula Wing.
Directed by TBA
A “theatrical memorandum” on Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian activist-journalist who exposed details of Russia’s war in Chechnya and fought government suppression, before her ruthless killing. In 2002, she was awarded the PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award. In association with The Play Company, New York and Umanism NY (Valeria Orani, Director) as part of the Italian Playwrights Project. With additional support from Italian Cultural institute (Giorgio Van Straten, Director).


GOATS | Liwaa Yazji (Syria)
Translated by Katharine Halls.
Directed by Zishan Urgulu.
As the coffins pile up in a small town in Syria, a party leader decides to offer a goat for each martyred son. A father learns the hard way about the surreal reality of politics, war, martyrdom, and life. Presented with additional support from South-South Forum at Dartmouth College, Eman S. Morsi.

WAYS OF LOVING | Aristide Tarnagda (Burkina Faso)
Translated by Heather Jeanne Denyer.
Directed by Kareem Fahmy
Accused of murder, a woman dreams of the sun, the hills, and the wind while facing trial. She has no right hand with which to promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

ON THE ROYAL ROAD: THE BURGHER KING | Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)
Translated by Gitta Honegger
Directed by Stefan Dzeparoski
A blind female seer with bleeding eyes, Miss Piggy, channels a confused Tiresias as she tries to get a handle on the bizarre behavior of Donald Trump’s persona.


A FABLE FOR NOW | Wei Yu-Chia (Taiwan)
Translated by Jeremy Tiang
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
Tales of war, the environment, and personal regret collide as mankind hurtles towards a surreal apocalypse in the company of a belligerent duck, bears of at least three different varieties, and a truly extraordinary chicken.

IN WAR AS IN GAMES | Edouard Elvis Bvouma (Cameroon)
Translated by Heather Jeanne Denyer
Directed by Gisela Cardenas
As the 2012 brutal siege rages outside, two Palestinian refugees debate the best plan of escape. Set out-side Damascus in the Yarmouk refugee camp, this black tragicomedy reveals the catastrophic absurdity of the Syrian civil war.

AGNETHA KURTZ ROCA METHOD |Ana Luz Ormazábal (Chile)
Translated by Ana Luz Ormazábal
Directed by Amelia Bande
A fictional Chilean philosopher and performance artist returns to her country after 30 years of self-exile. A conference play about language, identity, community, and immigration–both from and to Chile.

Translated by Yonatan Levy & Amir Farjoun
Directed by Amir Farjoun
On the brink of military defeat, Saddam and his doppelgangers retreat to the bunker—and embark upon a spiritual quest. Blending politics, metaphysics, poetry and nonsense, the play follows the tyrant’s initiation into the esoteric secret of oil.


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.




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