‘English’ performances at ArtsWest

April 13, 2024 @ 7:30 pm
4711 California SW
West Seattle

ArtsWest will produce the 2023 Pulitzer Prize-winning play ENGLISH by Sanaz Toossi. This co-production with Seda Iranian Theatre Ensemble will be directed by Seda co-founder Naghmeh Samini. The cast features Vahishta Vafadari, Newsha Farahani, Janet Hayatshahi, Shereen Khatibloo, and Emon Elboudwarej. ENGLISH performs at ArtsWest from April 4 through April 28, 2024.

Two words set in motion award-winning playwright Sanaz Toossi’s intricate and profound New York debut: “English Only.” This is the mantra that rules one classroom in Iran, where four adult students are preparing for the TOEFL — the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises, and show-and-tell sessions, they hope that one day, English will make them whole. But it might be splitting them each in half.

ArtsWest is thrilled to be co-producing ENGLISH with Seda Iranian Theatre Ensemble. Seda’s co-founders, Parmida Ziaei and Naghmeh Samini are both key members of ENGLISH’s Creative Team. Ziaei, who has served as Scenic Designer on past ArtsWest productions of ALMA and AN ENDLESS SHIFT, will be Scenic and Costume Designer for the upcoming production. Director Naghmeh Samini is joining ArtsWest for the first time. A prominent, award-winning playwright and screenwriter in Iran, Samini celebrated two successful runs in Seattle as the director and playwright of The Forgotten History of Mastaneh. In a recent interview with American Theatre Magazine, Samini reflected on ENGLISH’s ability to connect with audiences. Rather than focusing on the macro, like politics or history, ENGLISH focuses on the micro – five complex characters bursting with life, humor, and dreams for their future that immediately connect with audiences and draw them in. In the article, Samini shares, “What I like about this play is that it doesn’t try to show Iranian women as superheroes. It just shows us as real people with strengths and weaknesses.”

ArtsWest will present English, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm.

Vahishta Vafadari – Marjan
Newsha Farahani – Goli
Janet Hayatshahi – Roya
Shereen Khatibloo – Elham
Emon Elboudwarej – Omid

Creative Team
Directed by – Naghmeh Samini
Assistant Director – Anahita Sepehri
Assistant Director – Azadeh Zanjani
Stage Manager – Daisy Bower
Lighting Designer – Chih-Hung Shao
Costume Designer – Parmida Ziaei
Scenic Designer – Parmida Ziaei
Sound Designer – Andi Villegas
Projection Designer – Nabilah Ahmed
Music Consultant – Babak Khiavchi

About the Production
English by Sanaz Toossi and directed by Naghmeh Samini plays April 4th – 28th, 2024 at ArtsWest (4711 California Ave SW). Tickets (ranging from $15 – $45) may be purchased online at artswest.org, by phone at 206.938.0339, or at the Box Office Thurs. – Sat. 2:00 – 7:00 pm, Sundays 11:00 am-3:00 pm.

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