South Asian American Playwright Trail Blazes In SFBATCO New Roots Theatre Festival

Aidaa Peerzada co-creates San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company's inaugural "New Roots Theatre Festival" October 16 & 17 and writes new play "Shining," an afro futurist innovation of the Greek myth of Phaeton.
By: Wright Enterprises, www.wrightnow.biz
 
 
Aidaa Peerzada's Shining in New Roots Theatre Fest
Aidaa Peerzada's Shining in New Roots Theatre Fest
SAN FRANCISCO - Oct. 7, 2021 - PRLog -- POSTED COURTESY OF WRIGHT ENTERPRISES SAN FRANCISCO ~DALLAS COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT~~~

San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company Artist in Residence, playwright and co-creator of the new "New Roots Theatre Festival," Aidaa Peerzada, whose artistic family hails from Pakistan, knows about artistic limitations and barriers.

Peerzada, who is African American and second- generation Pakistani, has developed the "New Roots Theatre Festival" along with San Francisco native Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company to make way for BIPOC artists to have a theatrical space defined by BIPOC artists and audiences. Both are graduates of Carnegie-Mellon University.

"We just couldn't sit back and let the pandemic keep us in a corner.  As artists we have to create so we developed a response that is indicative of SFBATCO's mission to give voice to BIPOC communities that benefit all of society," said Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr., Co-founder of SFBATCO with fellow San Francisco native Marcelo Javier.

"In the American theater the idea that Black and Brown people simply have no stake in the performing arts is a pervasive excuse to allow a lack of diversity on stage and in the audience. The implication is that our cultures do not have theatrical practices. My first theatrical experiences were of my father, Imraan Peerzada's plays at the Rafi Peer Theater's World Performing Arts Festivals, so I am lucky enough to have always known this was not true,"  says Peerzada.

The "New Roots Theater Festival" will feature eight unique projects that will presented throughout the day on October 16th and 17th. Jackson and Peerzada describe that the core theme of the festival is resilience."My experiences at The World Performing Arts Festivals in Lahore (Pakistan) taught me that atmosphere of celebration can engage people, even in art forms they may have never seen and that core value of centering joy is a big part of 'The New Roots Theater Festival'," says Peerzada.

"We're done with a theater that only features our trauma," says Jackson.

Peerzada's own original work SHINING: an afro futurist innovation on the myth of Phaeton which will be featured in the "New Roots Theatre Festival," is sure to blaze a trail in the hearts of people who understand resistance in dark times. " I think my play makes use of a myth that features state violence because that is a theme that is relevant both in the Black community here in America and throughout South Asia, " says Peerzada.

In a time that the pandemic has shuttered theaters and impacted the voices of artists, Peerzada's work shines forth with a dual or maybe even triple purpose.  Her work is a candle against the darkness the pandemic has caused in the art world. She is a female playwright. Peerzada speaks forth her truth in spite of the restraints often placed on South Asian Women and Black Women.

"The unique voice that Aidaa brings is so important as we consider the fate of the women in Afghanistan. She and her family hailing from that part of the world and with many family members still living there, understand what it is to be silenced and kept from thriving," says Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company. "The Performing Arts are still taboo within Muslim-South Asian communities, and I'm proud to come from people who have held on to the need for these collective dream spaces, even after the threat of conservative nationalism and extremism has taken hold over much of the region," says Peerzada.

From what Peerzada expressed in the synopsis, the play  is sure to be thought-provoking, the perfect subject for coffee or a post theater meal. "Shining" is the story of a young man who gets in trouble while trying to prove himself to his estranged father. It so happens that he is a child of the Sun God,  and the trouble is setting the world on fire when he demands that his father Helios prove his legitimacy by allowing him to drive the chariot of the Sun. At the end, Zeus, strikes him from the sky to try and stop the devastation he is causing, but Shining's sisters grieve over the trapped nature of Shining's plight; his desire for affirmation was a fatal mistake. This ancient myth encapsulates so many stories of people who are caught in demanding validation from a system that is committed to their oppression, and yet has also created them.

Peerzada's "Shining" is one of eight works from six BIPOC companies including the African-American Shakespeare Company, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre; AfroSolo; Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico; and PUSH Dance.  "Shining" will be paired with PUSH Dance in one of four performance blocks called "Afrofuturistic Journeys."

An emerging work of art, "Shining" can be seen, Saturday and Sunday, October 16 & 17, 2021 at the BRAVA Theatre Center in the historic Mission District of San Francisco.  Tickets start at $30 for a performance block of two shows or $50 for all eight performances (https://www.sfbatco.org/nrtf-projects).  They include: The second of two artworks produced by SFBATCO,  "Sign My Name to Freedom: The Unheard Songs of Betty Reid Soskin," a musical by Jamie Zimmer about Betty Reid Soskin, who turned 100 years old on September 22, 2021. The play is based the National Park Service's oldest Rangers' compositions; The African-American Shakespeare Company (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare {Abridged}[Revised]; "The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT Artistic Director, Margo Hall and playwright Traci Tolmaire's "In the Evening by the Moonlight" about Civil Rights-era friends: Lorraine Hansberry, Nina Simone and James Baldwin); AfroSolo's Founder Thomas Simpson's  "San Francisco: Variation of Black Joy, White Supremacy and Hope!); "Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico, "México Lindo y Querido"; and PUSH Dance, "Emma Ya: Expedition."

For more information about Peerzada, "Shining," the seven other productions, and tickets, visit www.sfbatco.org.
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