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La Jolla Playhouse presents The Who & The What, Written by Ayad Akhtar, Directed by Kimberly Senior

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The Who & The What

February 11 - March 9

Written by Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Kimberly Senior

Playwright Ayad Akhtar recently won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Raised in a conservative Muslim family in Atlanta, the outspoken and brilliant Zarina routinely clashes with her traditional father and sister. Zarina’s one outlet – her recently completed book about women and Islam – threatens to tear her family apart for good. With humor and ferocity, Ayad Akhtar’s The Who & The What examines the giant chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives.

Join us for our final discussion around The Who and The What"Islamic Culture: A Woman’s Perspective" Discovery Sunday, March 9 after the 2:00 performance.
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Talk About the Art




Production Sponsors
Laurents / Hatcher Foundation
The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund

Production Co-Sponsors
Weston Anson & Susan Bailey
Linda Chester & Dr. Kenneth Rind
Gad & Suzan Shaanan
Lisa & David Casey

Recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award

Meet the Creative Team

Ayad Akhtar is an award-winning author, playwright, and screenwriter who was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and named a 2012 Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play, Disgraced, played at Lincoln Center Theatre in 2012 and will be premiering at the Bush Theater in London in May, 2013. Disgraced also won the Jeff Equity Award for Best New Play in 2012. As a screenwriter, Mr. Akhtar was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities, with degrees in Theater and Film Directing. Learn more about his career on his website.

Kimberly Senior is a Chicago-based director, where credits include Want and The North Plan (Steppenwolf); The Letters (Writers' Theatre); The Whipping Man (Northlight Theatre); After the Revolution, Madagascar, The Overwhelming and The Busy World is Hushed (Next); Disgraced (American Theater Company); All My Sons and Dolly West's Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre); among others. She also directed the New York's LCT3 production of Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced. Ms. Senior is an Artistic Associate at Next Theatre, Strawdog Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. She also served as Program Director and as a dramaturg for Steppenwolf's First Look Repertory of New Work. As an educator, she spent ten years as both an administrator and Resident Artist with Steppenwolf for Young Adults. In addition, she either ran programs or taught for Court Theater, Northlight Theater, Redmoon Theater, Roadworks Productions, Victory Gardens, Metropolis, Act One Studios, and Acting Studio Chicago. She is adjunct faculty at Columbia College where was the recipient of the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. She has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards in Directing.


Design Credits for The Who & The What

Scenic Design Jack Magaw
Costume Design Elisa Benzoni
Lighting Design Jaymi Lee Smith
Sound Design Jill BC Du Boff

Press and Reviews for The Who & The What

10 Reasons for Theater Lovers to Leave New York in 2014
> Read more about The Who & The What in TIME Magazine

Ayad Akhtar is Named One of the "Faces to Watch" in Theater in 2014
> Read more in the LA Times

Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre

Potiker Theatre

The Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre is the third and newest of La Jolla Playhouse's theatres, the 6,500-square-foot Potiker theatre is the centerpiece of the first permanent year-round home for the Playhouse — the $17 million Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center.

"A box within a box, within a box," the theatre is a glass-enclosed black cube that gives the Playhouse performance options; the seating and the stage can be placed wherever the director wishes, enhancing the performer-audience relationship. The performance area – complete with removable seats to allow for as few as two audience members and as many as 450 – has a mostly-removable performance floor with trap doors that lead down to a labyrinth of facilities and backstage areas for casts and crews, including a sound and recording studio which allows live music to be channeled into the theatre. Above the audience's heads sits a wire tension grid; there is also a balcony along the theatre's outer wall for extra seating or performance space.

The Potiker Theatre is a flexible space; therefore seating configurations change for each show.

> Learn more

The Who & The What Events

Book Signing

Playwright Book Signing

Monday, February 10 at 7:30 pm

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author Ayad Akhtar discusses The Who & The What and signs his novel American Dervish at Warwick's Bookstore, La Jolla.

Talkback Tuesday

Talkback Tuesdays

Tuesday, February 18 after the 7:30 pm performance

Participate in a facilitated discussion with actors and artistic staff immediately following the performance. More info coming soon.

Foodie Friday

Friday, February 21 starting at 5:00 pm

Join us for Foodie Fridays! Green Truck and New York on Rye will provide delicious eats. Plus, enjoy a complimentary microbrew tasting!

Free Discussion with Dr. Reza Aslan and Ayad Akhtar

Friday, February 21 at 5:45 pm

The Playhouse will host "The Human Divine: Searching for the Person within the Sacred," a pre-show discussion featuring #1 best-selling author Dr. Reza Aslan and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar.

ACCESS performance

ACCESS

Saturday, February 22 at 2:00 pm

During this performance, La Jolla Playhouse provides American Sign Language interpretation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing and audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. More info coming soon.

Talkback Tuesday

Talkback Tuesdays

Tuesday, February 25 after the 7:30 pm performance

Participate in a facilitated discussion with actors and artistic staff immediately following the performance. More info coming soon.

Foodie Friday and ASL Interpreted Performance

Foodie Friday and ASL Interpreted Performance

Friday, February 28. Foodie Friday starts at 6:00 pm, performance with added American Sign Language interpretation is at 8:00 pm.

Join us for Foodie Fridays! Green Truck and Red Oven will provide delicious eats. Plus, enjoy a complimentary microbrew tasting!

Insider Events

Insider Events

Saturday, March 1 at 1:00 pm

Insider events offer a special pre-performance presentation by members of the Playhouse staff that highlights the history and making of the production you are about to see.

Insider Events

Insider Events

Wednesday, March 5 at 6:30 pm

Insider events offer a special pre-performance presentation by members of the Playhouse staff that highlights the history and making of the production you are about to see.

Open Captioning Performance

Open Captioning Performance

Saturday, March 8 at 2:00 pm

This performance has added open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Discovery Sunday

Discovery Sunday

Sunday, March 9 after the 2:00 pm performance

Join special guest speakers Huma Ahmed Ghosh and Pardis Mahdavi for "Islamic Culture: A Woman’s Perspective," moderated by Angela Carone.

The Human Divine: Searching for the Person Within the Sacred

Watch a discussion with #1 New York Times best-selling author Dr. Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth) and The Who & The What playwright Ayad Akhtar.