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'Beyond the Mirror' performs May 24.

Afghan saga makes West Coast premiere on CSUEB stage May 24

  • May 14, 2009
  • MEDIA CONTACT: Diane Daniel, CLASS publicist, 510-885-3183

"Beyond the Mirror," a theatre collaboration between Bond Street Theatre, New York, and the Exile Theatre of Kabul — the only Afghan theatre group to perform in the United States — will be performed at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 24 in the California State University, East Bay University Theatre, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, in advance of other West Coast performances.  

Directed by Mahmoud Shah Salimi and Joanna Sherman, "Beyond" is a journey through three decades of occupation and war in Afghanistan and a search for cultural identity. Woven through myths and memories, family histories and first-hand accounts, traditional dances, and live Afghan music, the performance is an intricate tapestry of events, both desperate and hopeful.

Filmed montages and video interviews with everyday Afghans are layered with striking, imagistic portrayals of their stories by the Afghan and American ensembles. A brief post-performance discussion will follow the performance.

"Beyond" began in the Afghan refugee camps in northern Pakistan in 2002. Members of Bond Street Theatre, performing for children in the refugee schools, met a group of Afghan actors who dared to present live theatre despite the restrictions of the times. This group was Exile Theatre.

The two companies were immediately drawn to each other's theatrical views, and planned to create a new work together. This plan came to fruition the following year in Kabul and, since that time, has grown into this full-length theatre work. "Beyond" made its world premiere at the 2nd Afghan Theatre Festival in Kabul in August 2005.  Since then, the play has been presented in Japan, Baltimore and New York, and is now back in the United States. San Francisco performances are set for mid-June.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for youth/seniors/alumni and $5 for students with I.D. Tickets may be reserved at http://class.csueastbay.edu/theatre/Ticket_Reservations.php or by calling 510-885-3118.

Performances of "Beyond" have been made possible in part by grants from the Ford Foundation and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (US Department of State).

The CSUEB performance was made possible by Associated Students Incorporated, the CSUEB Housing Office, the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Ohlone College.

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