ANOTHER LIFE: 10 Years + Counting Interviews New York Playwright Karen Malpede

1. Please describe your project. What inspired you to tackle this issue?

The 9/11 Performance Series will present three plays—an acclaimed revival and two world premieres—that are a counter-narrative of the past 10 years: the stories  of a Pakistani-American family, Muslim immigrants in France, and of those complicit in the U.S. torture program. The three new plays by Wajahat Ali, CA, Jeton Neziraj, Kosovo, and myself (NY) are certain to provoke. The rise of Islamophobia, violence and greed is ripe for reflection as we mark the decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks as the theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice becomes the venue fit to challenge and revise the collective narrative.

2. What have you learned from this project? Were there any surprising outcomes?

Writing a play about the U.S. torture program led me to lawyers who graciously shared their experiences and to much other research that was harrowing and horrible.  My challenge was to put this material into a play that is entertaining, enlightening, horrifying, and totally engrossing.  I hope.

3. How do you wage peace each day? Any pointers for the rest of us?

I do yoga.  I have two lovely cocker spaniels.  I cook.  I try to be kind to my friends and family.  I try to stay human in the face of all the horror. It’s important to teach, on the street, in the classroom.  But, more and more, I find the most important thing one can do is to Listen.  If you listen to people and allow them to speak, they sooner or later get to the truth of their own hearts. They figure it out.  Listening is a profound act of resistance in times like these.

4. If applicable, how can people get involved in your project?

We need help spreading the word about the 9/11 Performance Series.  We need audience!  We could use volunteers to help us staff the book tables. We could use a practiced stage manager, too.  Email us at info@theaterthreecollaborative.org.

5. Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Acts of War: Iraq & Afghanistan in Seven Plays (Northwestern University Press, 2011) includes my play Prophecy and six other extraordinary antiwar plays by major British and American writers: Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo;9 Circles by Bill Cain; The Vertical Hour by David Hare; A Canopy of Stars by Simon Stephens; American Tet by Lydia Stryk; No Such Cold Thing by Naomi Wallace.

About Another Life

A surreal, real, and satiric story of a mogul and his daughter locked in a titanic struggle, Another Life offers a whirlwind trip through the past ten years.  Greed, torture, war-lust and sexual enslavement vie with a subtle but growing resistance that leads to brave acts of caring and whistle-blowing.  Another Life employs inventive language and memorable characters to bring to light questions of complicity and conscience in civil society. For more information, visit www.theaterthreecollaborative.org. Also, see below for the schedule of performances of Another Life.

The performance schedule for Another Life is as follows:

September 8 at 5 pm, the Series kicks off with a panel of Guantanamo Lawyers discussing their experiences representing detainees and fighting for civil liberties, moderated by Kathleen Chalfant.  Theater Lobby. Free.
7:30 pm: An invited dress rehearsal of  Another Life at 7:30 pm, as a special treat for our patrons who have funded the production and for peace and human rights activists. For information/reservations visit here

Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 1:30pm, followed by a JUST-US Dialogue with author Chris Hedges

Tickets to Another Life are $20 ($10 students)

Another Life was written and directed by Karen Malpede, and stars George Bartenieff, with Eunice Wong, Ariel Sharif, Omar Koury, Christen Clifford, Dorien Makhloghi
Co-Produced with Theater Three Collaborative

Karen Malpede in Kosovo during the talk back after "Another Life." Photo by Valon Bajgoraj.

Karen Malpede is the author, and frequently the director, of 16 plays, and co-founder of Theater Three Collaborative. She is lead editor and wrote the introduction for Acts of War: Iraq & Afghanistan in Seven Plays. On the second year-anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, she created “Iraq: Speaking of War” performed at the CUNY-Graduate Center and the Culture Project. “Prophecy” was produced in London in 2008 and in New York in 2010. She interviewed survivors and witnesses for the September 11, 2001, Memory and Oral History Project at Columbia University. She is recipient of a McKnight National Playwrights’ Fellowship.

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