Bernard White (Amir), Nisi Sturgis (Emily) and Behzad Dabu (Abe) in Disgraced (Liz Lauren/Courtesy Photo)
Bernard White (Amir), Nisi Sturgis (Emily) and Behzad Dabu (Abe) in Disgraced

Liz Lauren/Courtesy Photo


February 24, 2016

It was a rainy Thursday morning on January 28, 2016. At least 30 Pierce College students gathered in front of the Health Education Center as they waited to board the bus to the Bagley Right Theater. Despite the weather, the students couldn’t contain their excitement as they discussed what was to come from the play, Disgraced. Some students discussed about how this would be a great opportunity to learn more about the Islamic faith, while others were excited to just watch a play. Whatever the reason, the weather didn’t rain on their parade.

The theater was already full with other colleges and high schools as the Pierce College students found their seats in the back row. The room was full of enthusiasm from not only the Pierce College students, but the other schools as well. Most of the high schoolers pulled out their phones to take selfies, while the college students turned towards someone next to them and had a conversation about what to expect in the play. The level of maturity was evident in the room.

As the play began, there were a lot of interruptions in the beginning from the audience about the profanity and violence the main characters go through. The play focuses on the lifestyle of a Muslim-American man tries to deny his Islamic faith and culture. As he struggles with his identity, his other colleagues have their own struggles as they all sit around the table discussing their input on not only the Islamic faith; but their own culture as well. The room was full of laughter and gasps as the play went on as the audiences’ eyes stayed glued to the stage.

At the end of the play, the audience had a chance to talk with the actors about the play. Before the discussion began, the crowd was asked a few questions about what they thought of the play. The first question was about how they felt after the play. The majority of the crowd said, “intrigued,” while the other half said, “overwhelmed.” The audience was once again asked whether or not they were able to relate to any of the characters in the play. One student from Renton Prep said that they were able to connect with the main protagonist, Amir because they had, “mixed emotions about who [they] were with split personalities.” Finding out who someone is was the main point of this play.

When the actors came out to discuss the purpose of the play, they said that it had little to do with Islam but more about identity. Bernard White, the actor that played Amir, talks about how this play represents, “the fallout of when you don’t love where you’re from. If you try to cut off a part of yourself, bad things will happen.” Behzad Dabu, the actor that played Abe, Amir’s nephew. He stated that this play focused on intersectionality. “Different parts of our personality that comes together and makes us who we are. This play shows us that all of the things that make us who we are, make us do the things we do,” he stated.  As the actors say, this play will help those who are having trouble identifying themselves if they don’t agree with their culture.

Disgraced, is overall thought-provoking as it gives the audience insight to another man’s life as he is in a constant battle with himself about his culture. The overall experience will tug at your heart as you connect with the characters and see their struggle with accepting who they are. This play shows its audience that no matter where we end up in life, we can’t deny who we are or where we come from. Because if we do, nothing but trouble will come our way.

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