Theatre Department to Present "Disgraced"

Ayad Akhtar speaks with theatre students and faculty
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar speaks with theatre students and faculty

SUNY Oneonta’s Theatre Department, along with the Mask and Hammer student theatre club, will present “Disgraced” at Goodrich Theater in the college’s Fine Arts Center on November 6, 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and November 10 at 2 p.m.

The show is particularly exciting because many of the students involved in the production of the play had the opportunity to meet its author, Ayad Akhtar, when he came to campus in September to deliver the Mills Distinguished Lecture.

Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of four Manhattan friends of different backgrounds, races and religions who find that their perceptions of each other have changed in the wake of 9/11. The play was chosen as SUNY Oneonta’s 2019 Common Read book, an initiative that aims to infuse cultural literacy into academic programs by asking the campus community to read the same diversity-related book, which then is discussed in fall courses across several disciplines. The Common Read author also gives the Mills Distinguished Lecture.

“Disgraced,” which will be directed by professor John McCaslin-Doyle, is centered on sociopolitical themes such as Islamophobia and the self-identity of Muslim-American citizens and depicts racial and ethnic prejudices that “secretly persist in even the most progressive cultural circles.”

There are several other events being held in conjunction with the play, including a book discussion at Milne Library on Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 4 to 5 p.m. and a “Talk Back” and backstage tour on Nov. 8 after the show, from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Theatre and Media Studies major Isabel Mendoza is the assistant stage manager for the production.

“With the play being the Common Read, we are expecting a large audience!” she said. “The Talk Back event we will be having is going to be interesting as well, hearing the questions and reactions of readers vs the reaction watching the play live. It’s one thing to read a script, but watching it play out in front of you is far different.”

“Disgraced” opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre on October 23, 2014 and has been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work – Play or Musical, an Obie Award for Playwriting, and a Tony Award nomination for Best Play.

Tickets cost $5 for the public and are available for purchase at the Hunt Union Building Information Desk from 1 to 10 p.m., at, or at the Fine Arts Center ticket booth one hour prior to the performance. For more information call (607) 436-3456.

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