SHARUM wraps up the first week of its NYC debut at The Players Theatre, with two weeks left under its Self Production Residency.
SHARUM, written by Mohammad Murtaza and Dena Igusti, is a documentary theatre piece that follows a Muslim family based in Queens, New York. The story follows the wedding of the oldest daughter, Mariam. Throughout the events of the wedding, all 4 of the siblings are forced to come face to face with the reality of their identities, battling the stigmas around mental health, arranged marriages, drug addiction, and queerness. In the midst of this ceremony, these secrets get exposed to each other and the community around them. SHARUM recalls true events in these scenarios that capture the responses of their parents, and the ways it permanently affects their family dynamic.
The Muslim-written production had its first run in late 2018 at Hunter College, and is now having its first Off-Broadway run directed by Ray Jordan Achan and co-produced by UNCOMMON;YOU and Eat At The Table Theater Company at The Players Theatre till July 27th.
“Sharum is an experience that needed to be staged in order to represent the everyday internal and external struggles that Muslims fight through behind closed doors” says Mohammad Murtaza in SHARUM’s end notes. “This play is my love letter to my community – a story for and by Muslim Americans. It’s also my fight with my community – a shout at the uncles and aunties, and mulvis, and imaams, and ammis and abus, who don’t recognize their children for who they are; a mix of two cultures.”
“This production is a love letter to every haram auntie, uncle, sibling, cousin, and family friend who stops showing up to the mosque during Eid.” says Dena Igusti. “Shame manifests in ways beyond the jeering eyes of gossiping folks at the mosque. It can be internal, external, presented as protection, concern, and sometimes love. Muslims are constantly forced to navigate life and identity though shame from both Islamophobia as well as community stigma that comes with their other intersecting identities. SHARUM not only addresses various perspectives of what it means to be Muslim, but how there isn’t a ‘right’ way to do right by those around you.”
“So often in our theater cannon do we not see stories of Muslim Americans depicted. This production offers a perspective into the conflicts that arise as generations and cultural values clash. It is a story about love and family and the lessons we learn from them.” writes Ray Jordan Achan at the end of SHARUM’s program.
SHARUM will continue its run till July 27th at The Players Theatre. For tickets and discounts, click here.