The Izmailovo Apartment by R. Sheth

July 1415, 2019

Written by Emilia Kazumova
Adapted by Zarema Zautdinova
Poetry by Alexandra Shilyaeva
Translated from Russian by Graham Schmidt
Directed by Adrianne Cury

Fleeing domestic violence, rape, and deception, three women find refuge in a squalid apartment in the Izmailovo district of Moscow. Based on the personal life of playwright Emilia Kazumova and anecdotal stories that she collected, The Izmailovo Studio explores the pursuit of personal dignity against patriarchal torment.

Performed as part of Staging the Stans

Read More

The Store by R. Sheth

July 1314, 2019

Written by Olzhas Zhanaydarov
Translated from Russian by John Freedman
Directed by Jeremy Aluma

Based on real events, Olzhas Zhanaydarov’s The Store exposes the brutal torment of a Kazakh migrant working in Moscow. Public indifference and a corrupt police force silence young victims lured from their homeland by a Kazakh trafficker. Promises of money, citizenship, and family reunification set the stage for a life of indentured servitude and abuse, a reality rationalized by religious interpretations of master and slave.

Performed as part of Staging the Stans

Read More

Uzbek by R. Sheth

July 1213, 2019

Written by Talgat Batalov
Adapted by Yekaterina Bondarenko
Translated from Russian by John Freedman
Directed by Sami Ismat

In Talgot Batalov’s Uzbek, the tales of Central Asian immigrants become fodder for a stand-up comedy routine. The ironies, dangers, paradoxes, and absurdities of moving from one culture to another are satirized in this intrepid tribute to human resilience. Uzbek avoids cliches and partisanship, insisting instead that everything cuts two ways.

Performed as part of Staging the Stans

Read More

EPIC Showcase Spring 2019 by R. Sheth

June 8-9, 2019

Written by Jacqueline Corral, Diego Del Carmen, Francisco G., Zacharie Hadj-Mohamed, Tyriana Jones, Ingrid Mares, Melanie Molina, Grace Neely, Jesus Vicente Ramos, Olivia Shumaker, Briseyda Torres, Doris Wolff, and Mary Yoon
Directed by Corey Pond with Tracy Strimple

A presentation of short plays written by new playwrights who participated in Silk Road Rising’s EPIC (Empathic Playwriting Intensive Course) residencies in Spring 2019. Writers are middle school and high school students or older adults whose plays shed light on the challenges and issues that Chicago youngest and eldest residents face.

Read More

Detour Guide by R. Sheth

March 11–April 7, 2019

The World Premiere
Co-Produced with Stage Left Theatre
Written and Performed by Karim Nagi
Directed by Anna C. Bahow

This one-man musical, co-produced with Stage Left Theatre, takes us on an alternative tour of the Arab World & Arab America. Using lyrics, percussion & an urban soundscape, master storyteller and musician Karim Nagi guides us through a social and political labyrinth, extolling the virtues of revolution, immigration, and hummus along the way.

Read the Program Book

Read More

EPIC Showcase Fall 2018 by R. Sheth

February 9-10, 2019

Written by Marcel Carter, Susan Cisneros, Destiny Mendez, Shavez Rodgers, Diamond Torres, Lakyla Turner, and Taylor Woods
Directed by Corey Pond with Tracy Strimple

EPIC Showcase is a compilation of short plays written by middle school and high school students that shed light on the challenges and issues Chicago youth face. The readings are performed by actors from the Silk Road Rising community.

Read More

Christmas Mubarak by R. Sheth

November 30–December 11, 2018

A Workshop Production
Adapted and Directed by Corey Pond
Music Direction by Emma Hospelhorn
Choir Direction by Erik Nussbaum

Christmas Mubarak is a first-of-its-kind musical/theatre interplay of the Quranic and New Testament stories that celebrates the miraculous birth, life, and ascension of Jesus. This festive holiday performance features actors from our Silk Road communities and choir members from the First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple.

Read the Program Book

Read More

Staged Reading Template by R. Sheth

Month ##, 20##

Co-Produced with
Written by
Translated from (language) by
Adapted by
Directed by
Musical Direction by
Choreography by

The play synopsis goes here. It’s a really great synopsis that we toiled away creating. It totally made people want to see the show. They came out in droves to see what was promised. They weren’t disappointed.

Performed as part of Name of Festival

Read More

A Great Migration by R. Sheth

October 67, 2018

Co-Produced with A-Squared Theatre
Written by Preston Choi
Directed by Brian Balcom

As Louise prepares a TEDx Talk on the Migratory Patterns of the North American Monarch Butterfly, her three sons are on the hunt to find their father so they can avoid being drafted into the Korean army. Part nature documentary, part TED Talk, A Great Migration maps one family's search for identity, unity, and a destination they are reluctant to embrace.

Read More

Sand on a Distant Star by Brent Eickhoff

August 1819, 2018

Written by Stan Lai
Translated from Chinese by Stan Lai with assistance by Tian Hongyi
Directed by Helen Young

Nightingale’s husband has been missing for nearly two decades. She’s convinced that he was abducted by aliens and will return on the twentieth anniversary of his disappearance. As Nightingale grows increasingly invested in her fantasies, her daughter and colleague grapple with an unsettling possibility: What if her husband doesn’t come back?

Performed as part of Silk Road Rising’s New China Festival: Staged Readings of Plays from the Chinese Speaking World

Read More

Dialogue and Rebuttal by R. Sheth

August 1112, 2018

Written by Gao Xingjian
Translated from Chinese by Gilbert C. F. Fong
Directed by Carol Ann Tan

Two strangers find themselves stranded outside of both time and place with only each other for company. Consumed by their personal loneliness, neither is able to truly listen to what the other has to say. Trapped in the existential crisis that follows a hook-up, their frustrations begin leading them down a path of mutual self-destruction.

Performed as part of Silk Road Rising’s New China Festival: Staged Readings of Plays from the Chinese Speaking World

Read More

Speaking as Then by R. Sheth

August 45, 2018

Written by Ruoxin Xu
Directed by Helen Young

On the eve of Chinese New Year, Dan is finally returning to China after several years in the U.S. But before the Tang family can celebrate a reunion, they must first confront their national, cultural, and political differences if they are to understand why Dan is really back—and why he immigrated to America in the first place.

Performed as part of Silk Road Rising’s New China Festival: Staged Readings of Plays from the Chinese Speaking World

Read More

Hollow/Wave by R. Sheth

May 17- 27, 2018

A Workshop Production
Written and Performed by Anu Bhatt
Directed by Barbara Zahora

Anu Bhatt combines the personal with the poetic in her one-woman show about depression, body image, and confronting sexual abuse. Seeking to balance and embrace two identities, Bhatt explores her South Asian American background with courage and insightful humor. A mix of raw memories, lyricism and tough truths, Hollow/Wave is a daring dance for empowerment through a sea of imperfection.

Read the Program Book

Read More

Obstacle Course by R. Sheth

April 19, 2018

Written by Jamil Khoury
Directed by Michael Menendian

Set in Naperville, Illinois, Obstacle Course explores reactions to a proposed Islamic Community Center on the site of a beloved landmark. Allyship, municipal politics, and Islamophobia all intersect in this head-on collision between Not in My Backyard fear mongering, well-intentioned liberalism, and the peaceful practice of faith.

Performed as part of RIOTCon 2018

Read More

Through the Elevated Line by R. Sheth

March 7–April 15, 2018

The World Premiere
Written by Novid Parsi
Directed by Carin Silkaitis

Having fled Iran where he was imprisoned for being a gay man, a damaged Razi arrives at his sister's doorstep in Chicago only to disrupt the life she and her American husband built together. As the Chicago Cubs vie to make history, rivalries of a different kind simmer in the Uptown two-flat that Razi tries to call home. With echoes of A Streetcar Named Desire, Novid Parsi's world premiere drama probes the boundaries between family, loss, prejudice, and desire.

Read the Program Book

Read More

Pure Land by Brent Eickhoff

February 3–4, 2018

Written by Mehdi Moradpour
Translated from German by Neil Blackadder
Directed by Sami Ismat

German Iranian playwright Mehdi Moradpour’s Pure Land, nominated for the Munich Prize for German Drama, traces the story of Tara, a pregnant Middle Eastern woman seeking political asylum amidst crippling bureaucracy and crumbling relationships. Neil Blackadder’s translation captures the poetry that won Moradpour the prestigious exil-DramatikerInnenpreis, a German theatre award for outstanding playwrights-in-exile.

Pure Land pits a torturous past against an uncertain future with sobering effect.

Read More

Wild Boar by R. Sheth

November 9–December 17, 2017

The U.S. Premiere
Written by Candace Chong
Translated from Chinese by Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith
Adapted by David Henry Hwang
Directed by Helen Young

A gripping investigation of journalistic integrity, city planning, and social conscience, Wild Boar is a new play from one of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed playwrights. When a controversial professor goes missing, an editor and his student band together to publicize the truth. Old flames spark and friendships are tested in the U.S. premiere of this turbulent thriller about media manipulation, fake news, and who gets to speak for the poor.

Read the Program Book

Read More

P3M5: The Plurality of Privacy Project by Brent Eickhoff

January 13–15, 2018

Written by Paco Bezerra, Philip Kan Gotanda, Simona Hamer, Marioan Hosseini, Rachida Lamrabet, Mihaela Michailov, and Csaba Székely
Directed by Kaiser Ahmed and Christine Bunuan

What does privacy mean in the digital age? P3M5 is a groundbreaking transatlantic theater project featuring five-minute plays from internationally renowned playwrights.

Read More

We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War by R. Sheth

September 9–10, 2017

Written by Mona Mansour
Directed by Anna C. Bahow

Should an Arab American enlist in the U.S. military? A progressive woman and her conservative nephew dip into the treacherous waters of identity, family, and militarism. Co-commissioned with San Francisco’s Golden Thread Productions and New York’s Lark Play Development Center as part of the Middle East America New Plays InitiativeWe Swim, We Talk, We Go to War blurs the lines between “us” and “them” presenting a provocative exploration of the tragic and indelible ripples of war.

Performed as part of Silk Road Rising's Crescent and Star Staged Reading Series: Arab and Muslim Journeys

Read More