Under The Veil (2009)
The Dramatic Focus
The events of 9/11 were traumatic for New York City, for the country, and for the Muslim community in America. The images and implications of two airplanes, hijacked by jihadists, taking down the twin towers, changed virtually everything. In particular, it precipitated a background state of fear, suspicion, and hostility that settled in as a cultural and political habit, and has influenced the way many non-Muslim Americans spontaneously think about and to respond to their Muslim-American counterparts.
The Aesthetic Aim
Under the Veil was devised to spark curiosity and self-reflection among audience members, and to foster safe, constructive conversations with the audience about the issues and themes explored in the piece.
The Insight Research
TÉA artists conducted hour long, one-on-one Insight conversation with over 40 Muslim and non-Muslim Americans living the greater New York area. Each Insight conversation opened with the following set of questions:
What has been the principal impact of 9/11 for you and your family?
What decisions do you find yourself making that you might not have made before?
What are you hoping will be better as a result of your new decisions?
The Performance Piece
Under the Veil is a two-act play incorporating music, song, and spoken word into 14 independent but thematically linked dramatic scenes that bring to life 27 characters, including Solace, a homeless street poet and master of ceremonies. Settings range from subways, to bars, to airports, to park benches, to living rooms, to television studios, to employment offices. Each scene concretizes the drama of cares and threats – curiosity and certainty – compassion and righteousness – that divide Muslim and non-Muslim Americans in the wake of 9/11.
Each performance was followed by the ‘third act’ – an Insight conversation with the audience about the themes and issues raised by the play.
Under the Veil was performed at La Mama Theatre in New York City, as well as at universities and other community venues in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.
Creator and Artistic Director: Vieve Radha Price
Director: Cheryl Paley
Lead Writers: Chukwuma Obasi, Christian De Gre, Crystal Cualo, Ashley Williams,
Musical Composer: Farid Johnson