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"My American Cousin" by Jameeleh Shelo, in performance in 2008 at iO Theater in Chicago.

Silk Road Rising 2015-16 Season to Feature Female Solo Work

The slate includes solo shows from Puja Mohindra, Marissa Lichwick, and Jameeleh Shelo, and a world premiere from Jamil Khoury.

CHICAGO: Silk Road Rising, a theatre dedicated to Asian-American and Middle Eastern-American voices, has announced its 2015–16 season, which features five new plays, including four solo performances and a world premiere from founding artistic director Jamil Khoury.

The season will begin with three works from Silk Road Solos 2015, the theatre’s annual of festival of solo performances, currently running through Nov. 21. This year’s festival is concentrated on female performances.

First is A Great Dive (Aug. 13–16), written and performed by Puja Mohindra and directed by Andrew Volkoff, about a young Indian-American woman trying to find love who rejects the idea of arranged marriages.

The next solo work is Yellow Dress (Oct. 1–4), written and performed by Marissa Lichwick and directed by Lavina Jadhwani. The play is based on Lichwick’s experience growing up as a Korean adoptee in upstate New York; it follows two orphans from South Korea to America and back.

The final work in Silk Road Solos 2015 is My American Cousin (Nov. 19–22), written and performed by Jameeleh Shelo and directed by Min-aha Beeck. Described as a “sketch comedy show,” the play follows the life of an Arab-American Muslim woman from Chicago as she navigates cultural pressures and social assumptions.

The new year will open with Silk Road Solos 2016 (running Feb. 18–Dec. 31, 2016). The first 2016 festival performance will be Ziryab, The Songbird of Andalusia (Feb. 18–21, 2016), written and performed by Ronnie Malley and directed by Anna C. Bahow. The play with music follows the life of 9th-century musician and polymath Ziryab, and his ascension from a slave to an artist whose fame spans continents.

The world premiere of Khoury’s Mosque Alert closes the season (March 24–May 1, 2016), directed by Eddie Torres. Inspired by the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy in New York City, the play tells the story of three fictional families living in Naperville, Ill., and what happens when an Islamic Center is proposed on the site of a local landmark.

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