48 Hour Forum
May 16th & 17th, 2016
5 playwrights, 5 directors, 20 actors. 48 hours.
Back by popular demand! A diverse roster of 30+ artists come together to create five short plays based on headlines of the day in just 48 hours. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements - and mark your calendars in the meantime.
Why Donate to Noor?
A Note From Playwright Ismail Khalidi
We live in dark times. As we speak, millions flee wars and occupations across the Arab and Muslim world. Piano teachers and construction workers, sculptors and farmers alike, walk across continents and pack into boats to escape the fires that rage at home. The human toll is staggering. The cultural heritage of the Middle East has not escaped the destruction of this unfolding tragedy either. Many of the churches and mosques, libraries, museums and archaeological sites that testify to our rich human histories - in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen - today lay in ruins. “The earth”, Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, “is closing on us." For far too many, that is indeed what it feels like.
In the U.S., we are far from a just society. Islamophobia, inequality and racism are rampant forces in our national discourse and public policy. Anti-Arab and anti-immigrant sentiment the norm, and the masses applaud when toupeed goons and others talk of internment camps, surveillance, torture, and the construction of higher and higher walls.
But as Bertolt Brecht reminded us during another dark moment in history, we must not let future generations look back and ask: “why were their poets silent?”
We need our poets. And we need institutions like Noor Theatre; because in dark times we must find light and hope and direction by coming together and building community. Art and theater have for millennia played that role. And for years Noor has continued that noble and necessary tradition, creating a home for artists and the wider New York public. In so doing, Noor has become a vital player in increasing the diversity of New York theater by infusing Middle Eastern voices into conversations from which they would otherwise be excluded.
Today, we desperately need art that is critical, that is dangerous, that is full of resistance and beauty, and which has the power to cultivate context and humanity in order to combat the violence and intolerance mounting around us. Noor Theatre has proven it is up to that challenge and has been fearless and creative in supporting, developing and sharing the often cutting-edge work of playwrights from Palestine, Syria, Iraq, the United States, Europe and beyond. Working with a talented pool of writers, actors, translators and directors of Middle Eastern (and non-Middle Eastern) descent, Noor builds bridges among cultures and people. But this is no dog and pony show. Noor asks tough questions. Noor brings us theatre that makes us laugh and cry. Noor brings us art that reminds us that joy and solidarity - along with history and memory - are powerful weapons that we as New Yorkers, as artists, as immigrants, and as global citizens, all have at our disposal.
As a playwright I have worked with Noor on various projects, from the impressive Highlight Reading Series to the timely and powerful 48 Hour Forum. In addition to being a Noor artist, I have been an audience member, and have been introduced to people and plays that have inspired me and my work in countless ways.
Now it is time for all of us to return that love and support in order to ensure Noor continues to shine light and fight the good fight in these troubling times. This holiday season, supporting Noor Theatre is one important way in which you can contribute to changing the world we live in for the better. One play at a time.