A Thousand Splendid Suns

Grand Theatre presents

In Association with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater

A Thousand splendid suns

Adapted by Ursula Rani Sarma
Based on a Novel by Khaled Hosseini
Directed by Haysam Kadri
Based on original staging by Carey Perloff

Stage Adaptation of International Best-selling Novel on the Spriet Stage March 13 to 31, 2018

LONDON, ON, March 1, 2018 — The Grand Theatre is thrilled to announce a first-time collaboration with the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), bringing A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS to the Spriet Stage. This acclaimed stage adaptation, based on the award-winning novel by Khaled Hosseini, had its world premiere in San Francisco in July 2016 and became the bestselling production in A.C.T.’s history. The Grand’s production will premiere an all new, all Canadian cast with original staging by A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. The Title Sponsor for A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is London’s Selectpath. 

“I have had a long association with Carey Perloff. A few years ago, she sent me a draft of this play. Powerful, vital, shocking, and relevant are words that came to mind as I read the script. I didn’t have to get too far to know that I wanted to be part of the life of this play,” said Dennis Garnhum, Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre. “This incredible collaboration of international artists has created a play that exposes the struggle and resilience of women in Afghanistan.”

Set in the war-torn neighbourhoods of 1990s Kabul, A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS tells the epic story of three generations of Afghan women. When battle upends her family, Laila must seek shelter, first in the home and then in the arms of her older neighbour. Soon she forges an extraordinary and unlikely friendship with Mariam, her new husband’s first wife. Summoning the strength to defy a tyrannical society, the two women seek hope and the promise of a better future. The production was adapted for the stage by acclaimed Playwright Ursula Rani Sarma and features music composed and performed by David Coulter.

“Performing in the premiere of this adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s mas­terful novel, A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, was unquestionably a highlight in my career as an actor,” said Director Haysam Kadri, who played Rasheed in the original A.C.T production. “Now, as a director, I’m a part of shaping the story, finding the nuance from the other side of the table, and revisiting why the play’s message carries such currency.”

The Canadian cast, each of whom is making their debut at the Grand, features Mirian Katrib as Laila and Deena Aziz as Mariam, with Gerry Mendicino, Anousha Alamian, Shelly Antony, Natascha Girgis, Tarick Glancy, Jessica Grossi, Omar Alex Khan, Baraka Rahmani, and London’s Hayden Baertsoen. Elements taken from the world premiere in San Francisco include the set designed by Canadian Ken MacDonald, costumes (created at the Grand) designed by Tony-award nominee Linda Cho, lighting by Robert Wierzel, music compositions by David Coulter, and the original staging by Perloff, who will be in London on March 12 as part of the Grand’s next panel discussion, Storytelling as Activism.

During the run of the show, the upper lobby will feature a photo exhibit from Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), a national non-profit organization that advances education and educational opportunities for Afghan women and their families, as well as educates Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan. In addition, during Saturday performances, CW4WAfghan will be on site with an Afghan marketplace, selling items by Afghan artisans with 100% of the proceeds going back into the organization.

Benefit Performance & Panel – March 24, 2pm

On March 24, the Grand will host a benefit performance of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. A portion of the proceeds from this performance will be donated to CW4WAfghan. Following the show will be a panel entitled Beyond the Headlines: What Does the Future Hold for Afghanistan?, with special guests CW4WAfghan Programs Director Dr. Lauryn Oates and Senior Director Murwarid Ziayee. The panel will be moderated by Kate McKenzie, founder of Worldviews Productions.  

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is on stage at the Grand Theatre from March 13 to March 31, 2018. Tickets are $29.95  to $84 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change) and are available at grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. 

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2017/18 Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group.

About the Grand Theatre

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost.

A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand’s season runs from September to May.

MEDIA CALL

When:    Tuesday, March 13 at 1:30 pm (cameras, please arrive at 1:15 to set up)
Where:    Grand Theatre Spriet Stage
What:     A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS photo, video, and interview opportunity for media

For more information, contact:
Kate Rapson, Communications Manager | krapson [at] grandtheatre [dot] com | 519-672-9030 ext. 247

CAST

Rasheed ANOUSHA ALAMIAN
Tariq SHELLY ANTONY
Mariam DEENA AZIZ
Zalmai HAYDEN BAERTSOEN
Fariba / Nana NATASCHA GIRGIS
Talib Soldier / Ensemble TARICK GLANCY
Doctor / Ensemble JESSICA GROSSI
Laila MIRIAN KATRIB
Abdul Sharif / Jalil / Fight Captain OMAR ALEX KHAN
Babi / Mullah Faizullah GERRY MENDICINO
Aziza BARAKA RAHMANI

PRODUCTION TEAM

Director / Fight Director HAYSAM KADRI
Original Director CAREY PERLOFF
Set Designer KEN MacDONALD
Costume Designer LINDA CHO
Lighting Designer ROBERT WIERZEL
Associate Lighting Designer ANDREW GRIFFIN
Composer / Musician DAVID COULTER
Sound Designer JAKE RODRIGUEZ
Assistant Sound Designer VERNE GOOD
Stage Manager LANI MARTEL
Assistant Stage Manager KATE DUNCAN
Apprentice Stage Manager JORY McLEAN
Child Supervisors JEAN FAULDS & LINDA MARTIN
Cultural Consultant WAJMA SOROOR 555

BIOS

Anousha Alamian  Rasheed
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Satellites (Solo Collective); Men In White (Arts Club); Long Division (Pi Theatre / Gateway); King Lear, Shakespeare’s Rebel, Equivocation, Cymbeline, The Merry Wives of Windsor, King John (Bard on the Beach); The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary / Citadel Theatre, Best Actor nomination); Much Ado About Nothing (CanStage); Homebody/Kabul (Mercury Theatre). Film and TV Credits (selected): The Predator (2018), The 100, Colony, Prison Break, Death Note, Wisdom of The Crowd, Arctic Air, Rogue, Afghan Luke, Hellcats, Diverted, Fringe, Degrassi, Mayday; regular on the CBC radio drama Afghanada. Other: Graduate of Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto and Dawson College (Dome Theatre) in Montreal.

Shelly Antony  Tariq
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Acha Bacha (Theatre Passe Muraille); Othello (Driftwood Theatre); Little Pretty and the Exceptional (Factory); Disgraced (Magnus Theatre); Scarberia (YPT, Dora nomination Best Individual Performance); Enchanted Loom – Reading (Cahoots); Frankenstein Live! (The Arts Engine); Perceptions of Love in the Pursuit of Happiness (T.O Fringe 15); Atonement on the 8th Hole (Midtown Int’l Theatre Festival); Macbeth, Blue Window, Dark Matters (New School for Drama, NYC); Much Ado about Nothing (The Scarborough Players).

Deena Aziz  Mariam
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble (Great Canadian Theatre Company); Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night (Repercussion Theatre); Another Home Invasion (Tableau d’Hôte Theatre); Intractable Woman, If We Are Birds (Imago Theatre); Rice Boy (Stratford Festival); Sherlock Holmes (Segal Theatre). Film and TV Credits (selected): The Disappearance (CTV); This Life (CBC); Helix, Being Human (SyFy).

Hayden Baertsoen  Zalmai
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre credits (selected): Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Drayton Entertainment); The Lion King (WOFIPSProduction). Other: The Nutcracker Ballet (Dance Steps London); Contemporary Voice Medal of Excellence Winner 2017 (Conservatory Canada).

Natascha Girgis  Fariba / Nana
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): 9 Dragons (RMTC); Sherlock Holmes, Ends of the Earth, Mystery of Edwin Drood (Vertigo); Titus Andronicus, Richard III (Shakespeare Co.); What You’re Missing (Chutzpah Festival); Drowning Girls (Cross Canada Tour); Communion, Palace of the End (Vertigo); Life Skills (Network); Heroine, Love (Northern Light); Humble Boy (Citadel / Theatre Calgary); Speaking in Tongues (Shadow); Trespassers (Belfry, Vancouver Playhouse); Blue Light, Oleanna, Stone Angel (ATP); Counsellor-At-Law (TC); Blues in the Night, Complete Works Abridged (LBT); Suite Surrender, Unnecessary Farce (Stage West); Amadeus, Macbeth (ATF); Barber of Seville (Persephone); Lend Me a Tenor (Arts Club).

Tarick Glancy  Talib Soldier / Ensemble
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): On Trial: The Long Doorway (Mercer Union); Blood Ticka Dan Wata (Marcia Brown Productions); Sister Act: The Musical (Lower Ossington Theatre). Film and TV Credits: Dead Set on Life (Vice); Forever Gone (Misplacd Frams); Firecrackers (Prowler Films).

Jessica Grossi  Doctor / Ensemble
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre credits (selected): A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Ruff); Delete After Death (Theatre Centre); The Clowns (Humber College); Tails From The City (Common Boots Theatre); Unoriginal Sin (The Players’ Guild). Film and TV Credits (selected): Forever Gone (Feature); The Fifth Estate (CBC); Paranormal Survivor, The Scariest Night of my Life (T&E). Other: Graduate of Theatre Performance Program at Humber College.

Mirian Katrib  Laila
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): The Prisoner of Tehran (Theatre Passe Muraille); Me And You (Talisman Theatre, Montreal). Film and TV Credits (selected): Condor (Audience Network). Other: Syrian / Jordanian-Canadian actor, musician, and singer / songwriter.

Omar Alex Khan  Abdul Sharif / Jalil / Fight Captain
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Timon of Athens, The School For Scandal, The Komagata Maru Incident (Stratford); The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary / Citadel); Glengarry Glen Ross, Romeo and Juliet, The Seafarer (RMTC); Acha Bacha (Passe Muraille / Buddies). Film and TV Credits (selected): Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Less Than Kind, Killjoys, The Strain. Other: omaralexkhan.com, @omaralexkhan.

Gerry Mendicino  Babi / Mullah Faizullah
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Moose On The Loose (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Lend Me A Tenor (Drayton Entertainment); The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary / Citadel Theatre); A Baby Boomer’s Blues (one-man show at various locations). Film and TV Credits (selected): My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 1 & 2; Ready Or Not (Showtime); Hairspray (film); Saw 6 (film); King of Kensington (CBC); Polka Dot Door (TVO). Other: BFA University of Windsor.

Baraka Rahmani  Aziza
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre credits (selected): Almost, Maine, Wit (Pacific Theatre); Marrow (Alley Theatre); Tibetan Book of the Dead (Radix Theatre); Der Wink (Leaky Heaven). Film and TV Credits (selected): Incendies, Nina’s World. Other: Graduate of the BFA Program at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

Haysam Kadri  Director / Fight Director
For the Grand Theatre: Einstein’s Gift, A Streetcar Named Desire. Theatre Credits (selected): The Shoplifters (Theatre Calgary); Three Musketeers, Titus Andronicus, Hamlet (The Shakespeare Company); Prairie Boys Winter, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dracula (Mount Royal University); Metamorphoses (U of C); Dracula (Red Deer College). Film and TV Credits (selected): The Revenant, Hell on Wheels. Other: Artistic Producer of The Shakespeare Company, Calgary. www.shakespearecompany.com.

Carey Perloff  Original Director
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. A passionate proponent of unusual classical literature and an advocate of new work and new theatrical forms, Perloff has been Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco since 1993. Perloff has directed dozens of award-winning productions for A.C.T. including the American pre­mieres of works by Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter and Timberlake Wertenbaker, World Premieres of contemporary American work and new interpretations of Schiller, Webster, Euripides, Gorky, Gogol, Moliere and many more. A devoted fan of Canadian theatre, Perloff has directed across Canada and collaborated with Dennis Garnhum on The Tosca Project and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Perloff is the author of Kinship, Luminescence Dating, The Colossus of Rhodes, Higher, Waiting for the Flood, and The Fit. Perloff received a BA in Classics and Comparative Literature from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University. She was honored with France’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Her book Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater was published by City Lights Press.

Ken MacDonald  Set Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Blind Date. Theatre Credits (selected): The Barber of Seville, Macbeth (Pacific Opera Victoria); Three Penny Opera, The Rake’s Progress (Vancouver Opera); A Thousand Splendid Suns (A.C.T. / TC); Sovereignty, The Shoplifters (Arena Stage / TC); Engaged, Our Town, Doctor’s Dilemma (Shaw); Wanderlust, Moby Dick, The Trespassers (Stratford); Parfumerie, ’Night Mother (Soulpepper); The Arsonists, The Overcoat, Vigil (CanStage); Sextet, Amourous Adventures of Anatol (Tarragon); The Waiting Room, Hamlet, Art (Arts Club). Upcoming: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Old Globe, San Diego); The Overcoat – A Musical Retailoring (CanStage / Vancouver Opera /Tapestry Opera). Other: Gemini Award for Outstanding Production Design, The Overcoat (CBC); two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Betty Mitchell Award, 17 Jessie Richardson Awards.

Linda Cho  Costume Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Broadway – Anastasia (Tony Nomination); A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award); Velocity of Autumn. Regional – A Thousand Splendid Suns (A.C.T. / Theatre Calgary); October Sky (Old Globe); Way of the World (Folger). Opera: Die Vogel (Los Angeles Opera); The Mikado (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); Samson et Dalila (Metropolitan Opera, Fall 2018). Other: Irene Sharaff Young Master Award; Ruth Morely Design Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women; MFA, Yale School of Drama.
linda­cho.com

Robert Wierzel  Lighting Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Broadway – Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill, starring Audra McDonald; Fela! (Tony Award Nomination); David Copperfield’s Dreams and Nightmares. Regional – A Thousand Splendid Suns (A.C.T. / Theatre Calgary); The Pajama Game (Arena Stage). Dance: 33 years with choreographer Bill T. Jones and the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company. Opera: Les Indes Galantes (Garnier Opera House, Paris); Silent Night (Atlanta Opera / Glimmerglass Opera / Washington National Opera). Other: MFA, Yale School of Drama; creative partner at Spark Design Collaborative. sparkdesigncollaborative.com

Andrew F. Griffin  Associate Lighting Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Henry V, Othello (Folger Theatre); The Moors (Yale Rep); The Last Five Years, Once on this Island, Jelly’s Last Jam (Le Petit Theatre); Ella: First Lady of Song, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Hetty Feather (Delaware Theatre Company); The Producers, Avenue Q, A Chorus Line, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (Olney Theatre Center); Associate to Mr. Wierzel, Shakespeare in Love (Asolo Rep). Other: MFA, Yale School of Drama; Member United Scenic Artists, Local 829; AFGLighting.com

Jake Rodriguez  Sound Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre credits (selected): An Octoroon (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater / Theatre Calgary); The Christians (Actors Theatre of Louisville / Playwrights Horizons / Mark Taper Forum). Other: Recipient of a 2004 Princess Grace Award. www.soundcrack.net

Verne Good  Assistant Sound Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Art, The Mountaintop. Theatre credits (selected): Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, Hirsch (Stratford); The 39 Steps – Dora Nomination, The Heidi Chronicles (Soulpepper); Breathing Corpses, Superior Donuts (Coalmine); Up The Garden Path (Obsidian); Outside (Roseneath Theatre); Was Spring (Tarragon); Stockholm (Seventh Stage Theatre); The Atomic Weight of Happiness (StandUp Dance); Normal Heart (Studio 180). upcoming: 3 shows for Stratford in 2018, two shows in Blyth. Other: Graduate of Humber College, National Theatre School, and Bishop’s University.

Lani Martel  Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: 12 seasons with the Grand. Favourite productions include A Christmas Carol, The Mountaintop, Intimate Apparel, Elf, Calendar Girls, Kingfisher Days, The Little Prince, Dreamgirls, The Drawer Boy, Hana’s Suitcase, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Theatre credits (selected): Five Alarm, This One, The Drawer Boy, Stag and Doe, Having Hope at Home (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Rick Kish Prod.); Hometown, Rope’s End (Blyth Festival); Altar Boyz (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia). Also worked on various produc­tions for Opera Lyra, The National Ballet of Canada, Dasein Dance Theatre, FLUXLondon Dance Festival, Kaeja d’Dance, CCDT, and TILT sound+motion.

Kate Duncan  Assistant Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Theatre credits (selected): Life After (CanStage / Musical Stage Co. / Yonge St. Theatricals); Sarah Ballenden (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Kinky Boots (Mirvish Productions); The Magic Flute (Opera Atelier); The Power of Harriet T! (Young People’s Theatre); Alligator Pie, The Crucible, The Royal Comedians (Soulpepper); Lillian Alling (The Banff Centre for the Arts). Other: Graduate of Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto.

Jory McLean  Apprentice Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre credits (selected): Miracle on 34th Street, The Gentleman Clothier, Sexy Laundry, The Last Christmas Turkey (Theatre Orangeville); The Ladies Foursome, On a First Name Basis, Five Alarm (Port Stanley Festival Theatre). Other: BA Drama Program University of Windsor.

Ursula Rani Sarma  Playwright
Ursula Rani Sarma is an award-winning writer of Irish/Indian descent. She has written plays for the Abbey Theatre, the Dublin National Theatre, A.C.T., Ambassador Theatre Group, the Traverse Theatre, Paines Plough, and the BBC, amongst many others. Recent produc­tions include: Joanne (Clean Break / Soho Theatre), Débris (Théâtre La Licorne), The Ripple Effect (Ambassador Theatre Group / London Cultural Olympiad), Yerma (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Riot (A.C.T. Young Conservatory / Theatre Royal Bath), The Dark Things (Traverse Theatre), and Birdsong (Abbey Theatre, Dublin). Former writer in residence for Paines Plough, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Royal National Theatre, among others. Currently developing plays for the Abbey Theatre, the Traverse Theatre, and Djinn Theatre Company. Screen work includes Raw, Red Rock, Anywhere But Here, and Judge Dee. Currently adapting the book Henry’s Demons for BBC 1 and writing an original drama entitled Guardian for Channel 4.

Khaled Hosseini  Author
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1976, his family relocated to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then the Soviet invasion was underway, so the Hosseini family moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini went on to become a doctor, practicing medicine as an internist between 1996 and 2004. He is the author of three award-winning and internationally best-selling novels: The Kite Runner (2003), A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), and And the Mountains Echoed (2013). In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency. After a trip to Afghanistan in this position, he was inspired to estab­lish The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

David Coulter  Composer / Musician
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Multidisciplinary artist, musi­cian, composer, director, and educator based in the Bay Area. Since the 1980s, he has directed shows, produced records, and played his musical saw and other assorted instruments in studios, theaters, and stages, and on recordings around the world with The Pogues, Tom Waits and Robert Wilson, Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Hal Willner, and Gorillaz. Curates and directs numerous multi-artist events. Credits: Monkey: Journey to the West (Gorillaz and Chen Shi-Zheng), Double Fantasy Live, Rain Dogs Revisited, Twisted Christmas, In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited, An Anatomy Act. Other: Associate musical director and multi-instrumentalist on The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets (A.C.T. 2004); visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

American Conservatory Theater (Producer), San Francisco’s Tony Award–winning nonprofit theater, nurtures live theater through dynamic productions, intensive actor training, and community engagement. We embrace our responsibility to conserve, renew, and reinvent our rich theatrical traditions, while exploring new artistic forms and communities. A.C.T. opened its first San Francisco season in 1967 and has since performed more than 350 productions to more than seven million people. A.C.T.’s 50-year-old Conservatory features our Master of Fine Arts actor training program, our Summer Training Congress that attracts students worldwide, and the San Francisco Semester, a study-abroad opportunity for undergraduates. Other programs include the Young Conservatory (students aged 8–19) and Studio A.C.T., theater study for adults. A.C.T. also brings theater-based arts education to 16,000 Bay Area students annually. With our increased presence in the Central Market neighborhood marked by the renovation of The Strand Theater, A.C.T. plays a leadership role in securing the future of theater for San Francisco and the nation.

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London, ON N6A 3E4