A Quiet Tale of Incredible Intensity, “Bashir Lazhar” to get Staged Readings June 3-4

Sorab Wadia takes on another challenging role for Barrington Stage Company.

In a Canadian elementary school a beloved teacher hangs herself in her classroom allowing herself to be discovered by one of her students. The sudden and shocking event sends ripples of emotion through the school as everyone attempts to deal with the tragedy. Into this situation, steps Bashir Lazhar, played by Sorab Wadia, an Algerian immigrant, who becomes the new substitute teacher. Tragedy, immigration and a tale of children thrown into the midst of it….

…is it any surprise that Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, have decided to present a staged reading of this hot new play written by Canadian playwright Evelyne de la Cheneliere, in a translation by Morwyn Brebner. Starring Sorab Wadia, with direction by Shakina Nayfack, Bashir Lazhar will be presented Sunday, June 3 and Monday, June 4 at 7pm at the St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) located on the upper level of the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield. Tickets are $15 (reserved seating). Tickets and Information

Bashir Lazhar tells the story of an Algerian immigrant who is hurriedly hired as the teacher at an elementary school in Montreal for a class of distressed students. His unorthodox teaching methods draw him into surprisingly explosive territory. Adapted for the screen under the title Monseiur Lazhar, it was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Sorab Wadia returns to Barrington Stage where audiences will remember his hilarious performance as the Sultan of Brunei in the world premiere musicalPool Boy. Sorab is originally from India. Credits include: Jihad! The Musicalin London’s West End. Sorab performs a one-man adaptation of The Kite Runner, directed by Wynn Handman, for the American Place Theatre in New York and across the USA. He garnered rave reviews for his performance as Ali Hakim on the National Tour of Oklahoma! New York: Chaos Theory, Big Shoot and Faces of War. TV: 30 RockChappelle’s Show. Film: New York,Suburban GirlHiding Divya. He plays a villainous character in the videoGrand Theft Auto IV.

Evelyne de la Chenelière, author and actress, wrote several plays which played in Quebec as well as abroad, and translated into several languages, including Strawberries in JanuaryAu bout du filHenri et Margaux,Aphrodite en 04L’Héritage de DarwinBashir Lazhar, and Le plan américain(recipient for best play of the Festival Scoops to Saarbrücken in Germany in 2009). In 2006, she received the literary prize of the General Governor for her collection Public disorder. In 2009, the play Les pieds des anges (Feet of the angels) was a part of the programming of the theater Espace GO and was nominated for the literary prize of the General Governor (2009) and Grand Prize of dramatic literature (2010). L’imposture was presented in fall 2009 at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. In 2011, Strawberries in January was presented in its Hungarian translation in Budapest. Stemming from le Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental, she often collaborates with Jean-Pierre Ronfard and works regularly with Daniel Brière. Their last creation, Ronfard, nu devant son mirroir, was presented in March 2011 at L’Espace Libre. Her play, Bashir Lazhar, has been the object of a cinematographic adaptation, written and realized by Philippe Falardeau and produced by Micro_scope. The movie was nominated for best foreign Language film at the 2012 Oscars. Her new creation, La chair et autres fragments de l’amour, an adaptation of the bookUne vie pour deux from Marie Cardinal was presented at theater Espace Go spring 2012.

Shakina Nayfack (Director) Shakina returns to BSC for a second season as Associate Producer of the Blatt Center.  Last season, Shakina was the assistant director/assistant choreographer for Mormons, Mothers, and Monsters and The Game – both as the 2011 Drama League Directors Project Musical Directing Fellow. He also directed William Finn’s Songs By Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know But Should. From 2005-2011 Shakina worked in Los Angeles as the Artistic Director and co-founder of Epic Megalopolis Productions (EpicMegaPro), an independent theatrical production company devoted to the development of new work. Producing/directing credits: JUNK: a Rock Opera (currently in development with the Swedish pop band Brainpool), Dan LeFranc’s The Poor Players(world premiere, Actors Theatre of Santa Cruz), Bodies in Crisis with Butoh company Ragesties (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Cosa Rara/Rare Thingwith Butchlalis de Panochtitlan and La Maricolectiva (Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica), April Hava Shenkman’s ShangriLA (part of Watts Village Theatre Company’s Meet Me @ Metro), Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls… and Luis Valdez’ Zoot Suit (choreographer), both as artist in residence at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

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