PEN World Voices International Play Festival 2016

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Announces
The 2016 PEN World Voices: International Play Festival

  • Internationally celebrated playwrights tackle global issues including gender identity, inequality, migration, refugees, and climate change in 8 free play-readings.
  • With plays by LARA FOOT (South Africa), TRINIDAD GONZÁLEZ (Chile),
    and YAEL RONEN (Israel).
  • Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite, Oskar Eustis, Lara Foot, Sarah Hughes, Shira Milikowsky, Dan Rothenberg, Debbie Savietz, and Tony Torn.
  • APRIL 27 and 28 — THE SEGAL THEATRE The Graduate Center CUNY,
    365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016
    APRIL 29 — DIXON PLACE 161A Chrystie Street, New York, New York 10002
    FREE and open to the public. First come, first served. No reservations required.

(NEW YORK, March 7, 2016) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, City University of New York announces the complete line-up of its annual PEN World Voices International Play Festival, running April 27-28 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (365 Fifth Avenue, New York), and April 29 at Dixon Place (161 Chrystie Street, New York).

All readings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Presented in partnership with the PEN American Center’s annual PEN World Voices Festival, the three-day event generates a global dialogue on art, culture, politics and beyond, through play readings and in-person discussions with the featured playwrights — who hail from eight different world regions, as classified by the United Nations.

The selected 2016 playwrights — Lara Foot (South Africa), Trinidad González (Chile), Yudai Kamisato (Japan), Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), Conchi León (Mexico), Ivor Martinić (Croatia), Shahid Nadeem (Pakistan), and Yael Ronen (Israel) — offer plays that tackle a range of themes including, gender identity, inequality, migration, refugees, and climate change. Each reading will be followed by a short discussion with the artists.

The readings will be directed by a line-up of notable New York-based and international theatre-makers, including Tea Alagić, Oskar Eustis, Lara Foot, Sarah Hughes, Shira Milikowsky, and Dan Rothenberg.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is located at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. FREE and open to the public. First come, first served. No reservations required. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R.

For more information on the 2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival, and all of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s ongoing programming, visit

2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival Full Schedule

Wednesday. April 27
+51 AVIACIÓN, SAN BORJA by Yudai Kamisato (Japan)
Directed by Sarah Hughes | Translated by Aya Ogawa
Intensely personal, +51 Aviación, San Borja references Kamisato’s grandmother’s address in Lima. It shifts between reportage and fiction with the narrative unfolding around places Kamisato has traveled, from Tokyo and Okinawa to his grandmother’s Japanese-Peruvian community. This event is supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
4:00pm, Segal Theatre

MY SON JUST WALKS A BIT SLOWER By Ivor Martinić (Croatia)
Directed by Shira Milikowsky | Translated by Tomislav Kuzmanović
Martinić’s play explores three generations of a family while centering itself on a young man, Branko, who is in a wheel chair. The central relationship is between a son and his mother who tries to keep up her spirits and lives in denial while watching her son move around in his wheel chair.
6:00pm, Segal Theatre

COMMON GROUND by Yael Ronen (Israel)
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite | Translated by Frank Hentschker
Ronen brought together performers who migrated to Berlin from Belgrade and Sarajevo to explore common ground between the children of victims and perpetrators. Based on a trip to Bosnia and on encounters with experts and the family members of the protagonists, the theater becomes a safe space for discussing terms like guilt and atonement, forgiveness and forgetting, while stereotypes, prejudices and conflicting narratives gleefully collide. This event is supported by Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA.
8:00pm, Segal Theatre

Thursday, April 28
THE REUNION By Trinidad González (Chile)
Directed by Tony Torn | Translated by Alexandra Ripp
The Reunion is a play about power and the abuse of power. As Queen Isabella of Spain and Christopher Columbus discuss América’s destiny, their confrontation reveals their own arrogance and violence. It questions the hidden places of human ambition and reflects the pain of the victims who suffer when power is abused.
4:00pm, Segal Theatre

≈ [ALMOST EQUAL TO] By Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden)
Directed by David Rothenberg | Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles
In ≈ [Almost Equal To] we encounter a number of people who, seemingly invaded by numbers, are colliding with the economy surrounding them. Whether the character dreams about growing her way out of the contemporary economic system or wants to crush it, they all end up investing money in postage and pine nuts, fake bubbles and perfumes, strollers and utopias. This event is supported by the Swedish Arts Council. In collaboration with the American Swedish Institute Minneapolis, Scott Pollock/Director of Programs.
6:00pm, Segal Theatre

DARA By Shahid Nadeem
Directed by Oskar Eustis | Adapted by Tanya Ronder
Set in 1659 in the imperial court of Mughal, India, Dara explores the blood war of succession between two brothers, both heirs to the Muslim Empire, whose mother’s death inspired the Taj Mahal. The brothers embody the struggle between religious absolutism and liberalism, which has renewed impact today. It premiered in 2010 was performed widely in Pakistan and India, and was translated into English for a sold out run at the UK’s National Theatre in 2015. Special thanks to Rose Cobbe, United Agents LLP, London.
8:00pm, Segal Theatre

Friday, April 29
FISHERS OF HOPE By Lara Foot (South Africa)
Directed by Lara Foot
Known for her award-winning plays that tackle social issues, Foot’s play explores the theme of hope: its essence, values, meaning, impressions, longevity and even possible demise, examining the prospects of hope and livelihood within the African continent.
5:00pm, Dixon Place

MESTIZA POWER By Conchi León (Mexico)
Directed by Debbie Savietz | Translated by Virginia Grise
Through a series of monologues and interviews conducted with street vendors in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, and other rural areas of the state, this play explores the inherently complicated world of the modern day Mestiza. Ranging from domestic violence to street life to mystical practice, these stories paint a portrait of the faces, the thoughts, and the voices of today’s Mayan women.
7:30pm, Dixon Place

All programs are subject to change.

The PEN World Voices International Play Festival was conceived
and created by Frank Hentschker in 2005.

2016 Festival Co-Curator, Antje Oegel.
2016 Festival Producer, Brooke Christensen.

The PEN World Voices: International Play Festival 2016 has been made possible by the support of Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohen Chair, The Graduate Center CUNY and Susan and Jack Rudin.

For further information on the 2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival, and all of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s ongoing programming, please visit

The World Voices Festival April 25- May 1, 2016.
Launched by PEN American Center in the wake of the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the 11th annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature serves as a means of combating American cultural isolationism. The festival is an extension of the organization’s work as a champion of freedom of expression. For more information on PEN World Voices Festival, visit

About the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all.

Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. Year round, the Center presents a wide variety of FREE public programs which feature leading national and international artists, scholars, and arts professionals in conversation about theatre and performance. Programs include staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, festivals celebrating New York performance (PRELUDE) and international plays (PEN World Voices), screenings of performance works on film, artists in conversation, academic lecture series, televised seminars, symposia, and arts in education programs. In addition, the Center maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program, publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance (including plays in translation), all written and edited by renowned scholars.


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