Play Readings and Movies at PS21 highlight the American Immigrant Experience

[CHATHAM, NY] – This season, PS21: Performances Spaces for the 21st Century presents two plays and seven films that bring new voice to the American Immigrant experience. In his one-man show Dishwasher Dreams, actor and writer Aladdin Ullah draws on the story of his father who left East Bengal in the 1920s to settle in New York City’s East Harlem. James Farrell’s new play The Velocity of Geography explores the story of a father and daughter who flee from Romania in the 1980s. Finally, there is a twist on PS21’s popular Tuesday movie screenings: all the films will be about the American immigrant experience.

“We live in troubling times, and there is no way the arts are exempt from dealing with the most important issues of our day. So, at PS21, we’ve decided to devote some of our season to exploring the relevant subject of immigration. To this end we offer two play readings and seven films that investigate the subject from a variety of points of view.”

PS21 is located at 2980 Route 66, one mile north of the village of Chatham. Visit or call 518.392.6121 for more information. To order tickets, please visit our website or call 1-800-838-3006.


Dishwasher Dreams
Friday, July 21, 8:00pm


Aladdin Ullah

In his one-man show “Dishwasher Dreams,” actor and writer Aladdin Ullah draws on the story of his father a steamship worker from East Bengal, who jumped ship and made his way to New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, settled in Harlem in the 1930s, and worked for years as a dishwasher and line-cook. Aladdin explores his father’s life as well as his own childhood growing up in East Harlem in in the 1970s and ’80s. Accompanied by tabla player Avi Sharma, Ullah tells the story with a deep sense of humor, drama, and empathy for the American immigrant experience. Aladdin Ullah has been pioneering the past decade as one of the first South Asians to perform stand-up comedy on national television on networks such as HBO, Comedy Central, MT, BET, and PBS. Regge Life directs.

$15/$12 members/$8 students (school ID required for college students)

Staged Reading: Jim Farrell’s The Velocity of Geography
Sunday, July 23 at 2:00pm


James Farrell

James Farrell’s new play explores the complexities of experience behind the story of a father and daughter who emigrate from Romania to New York City in 1988 fleeing the oppressive regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. When they land in America they discover their challenges are only beginning. The staged reading is directed by Robert Zukerman. Farrell’s plays have been produced at Circle Repertory Company (New York), South Coast Repertory (LA), and Northlight Theatre (Chicago) among others.

$15/$12 members/$8 students

Free Movie Tuesdays
July 18-August 29 at 8:30pm

For twelve consecutive years, PS/21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century has offered free weekly screenings of music and dance-based films. This year there is a twist: all the films will be about the American immigrant experience. Seven different films shown on seven consecutive Tuesdays paint a portrait of immigrants’ challenges and struggles, joys and travails. Refreshments will be available for purchase.


Moscow on the Hudson Tuesday, July 18, 8:30pm
USA 1984. When a Russian musician defects in Bloomingdale’s department store in New York, he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined. Starring Robin Williams, directed by Paul Mazursky. 115 minutes

El Norte Tuesday, July 25, 8:30 pm
UK/USA 1983. In the early 1980s, two indigenous youths flee the persecutions of the Guatemalan Civil War to make the arduous trip through Mexico to the U.S. 141 minutes

The Immigrant Tuesday, August 1, 8:30pm
USA 2013. Marion Cotillard plays a Polish woman trying to free her sister from Ellis Island’s infirmary, with Joaquin Phoenix co-starring as a shady businessman.  120 minutes.

Avalon Tuesday, August 8, 8:30pm
USA, 1990. A Polish-Jewish family comes to the US at the beginning of the 20th Century to make themselves a better future. Directed by Barry Levinson as a valentine to his immigrant grandparents. 128 minutes

The Visitor Tuesday, August 15, 8:30pm
USA 2007. A lonely, widowed college professor discovers a young couple living in his New York apartment, who are undocumented immigrants from Syria and Senegal. 104 minutes

Stroszek Tuesday, August 22, 8:30pm
German, 1977. Werner Herzog’s brilliant film tells the story of Bruno Stroszek, an ex-con, who with his eccentric friends leaves Germany to move to Wisconsin looking for a better life. 115 minutes

The Namesake Tuesday, August 29, 8:30pm
USA/India, 2006. Directed by Mira Nair based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake is the story of a family of Indian immigrants who are caught between traditional Indian values and the values of the dominant American culture. 122 minutes

PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century is a not-for-profit organization in Chatham, NY, dedicated to the performing arts and to serving a diverse community with concerts, programs and residencies by professional artists and ensembles, youth and children’s programming and cultural education opportunities for all ages. Visit or call 518.392.6121 for more information.

Thank you to our 2017 Season Sponsors and Supporters:
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo & the New York State Legislature, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Touring Award, MetzWood Insurance, Ed Herrington, Inc., Main-Care Energy, and the Lofgren Agency.

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