Brilliant Pakistani-American writer Zarina is focused on finishing her novel about women and Islam when she meets Eli, a young convert who bridges the gulf between her modern life and her traditional heritage. But when her conservative father and sister discover her controversial manuscript, they are all forced to confront the beliefs that define them. From Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Disgraced, THE WHO AND THE WHAT is a thrillingly fierce and funny new play about identity, religion and the contradictions that make us who we are.
“THE WHO & THE WHAT explores intergenerational and interfaith conflicts with fluid eloquence and intelligence. Mr. Akhtar writes dialogue that, while often funny and always natural, crackles with ideas and continually reveals undercurrents of tension that ratchet up the emotional stakes.”—The New York Times.
“THE WHO & THE WHAT is to be commended for tackling themes too rarely addressed in contemporary dramas…Akhtar is definitely a playwright whose work merits significant attention.” —The Hollywood Reporter. Cast
Monika Jolly – Zarina
Alaji – Mahwish
Abhijeet Rane – Afzal
Andre Nelson – Eli
Directed by Samip Raval
Stage Manager – Malie Fujii
Lighting Designer – Ryan Dunn
Costume Designer – Kelsey Rogers
Scenic Designer – Lex Marcos
Properties Master – Andrea Spraycar
Sound Designer – Brian Murphy“As anyone familiar with Akhtar’s other work would expect, The Who and the What is funnier, smarter, and more insightful than most Big Issue plays. As well as an in-depth and, at times, tense exploration of the role of women in Islam, this is a touching portrait of a family that feels true to life.”
-Drama in the Hood
“This struggling family provides a painfully (oft times humorous) intimate glimpse into misunderstandings and divisiveness encountered by many who strive to smoothly transition into foreign territory. The amazing foursome cast in this play was totally plausible, incredibly strong, and equally talented. Hats off to Monika Jolly, Haley Alaji, Abhijeet Rane, and Andre Nelson.”