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Intellect

"A Second Birth" opens BYU 2012-2013 theatre season

The world premiere of a new play by Ariel Mitchell, “A Second Birth,” will be staged at Brigham Young University Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 25-28, in the Margetts Theatre. The play will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturday’s performance will be a matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for any performance. For tickets, visit the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-4322 or byuarts.com/tickets.

Thursday evening’s performance will offer American Sign Language interpretation.

The play, directed by George Nelson, tells of Nasima, a daughter of poor Afghani parents, who has been raised as a boy since age five to improve the family’s economic and social standing in the community. When she must finally give up employment and education in order to relearn to be a girl so she can marry, Nasima must confront the relationships of her past and the traditions of her future to find out who she truly is.

Nelson has taken a unique approach to staging a show that takes place in a distant land.

“Our production does not endeavor to be completely culturally or geographically accurate. We have taken some license in this regard and hope (the audience’s) imagination can make up the difference,” he said. “We are not making judgments about the beliefs and traditions of others; rather our aim is to breathe life into specific characters as they do their best to deal with their particular set of life circumstances.”

The show will provide the performers and audience members a chance to examine unfamiliar worlds to find new understanding and appreciation for the journey shared with everyone, including those who seem different on the surface.

“Our goal is to be true to them, their dreams and aspirations. The question we’ve asked ourselves every day in rehearsal is, ‘How different are we really?’ We hope our work raises the same query in you.’ This play is our attempt to examine the mystery of this oneness and the equality it implies.” 

The cast features Mari Toronto as Nasim/Nasima, David Lee as Yasir, Jennifer Chandler as Laila, Devin Wadsworth as Keman, Briana Shipley as Hoda, Moises Lopez as Mr. Rafaat and Noelle Houston as Azadeh.

The “Second Birth” design and technical crew includes Katrina Forsythe, dramturg; Jennifer Reed, production manager; Brett Vandygriff, stage manager; Travis Coyne, technical director; Graham Whipple, lighting designer; Joceyln Chatman, costume designer; and Celena Kurogi, makeup designer.

This production is sponsored by the BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts. For more information, contact Ken Crossley at (801) 422-9348 or ken_crossley@byu.edu.

Writer: Preston Wittwer

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