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Exile

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Nastaran Ahmadi
March 29, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright.

What is your show about?
An Iranian-American video game tester develops a game set in a post-nuclear-apocalypse Iran, even as her own relationship becomes a fallout zone. In this new play that tests the boundaries between fantasy and reality, loyalties shift quickly, and staying alive is the only way to win.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Tehran, Iran. I moved to Los Angeles with my family just before the revolution, and lived there until the age of 9. Then, we moved to Nashville, Tennessee where I lived until I left for college at Washington University in St. Louis. After that, I spent time in Seattle, Louisville and New York until I went to grad school in New Haven at the Yale School of Drama. Now, I'm back in New York and happy to be here.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
... references both the former Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, and the old-school Atari game, Q-Bert.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
There are two links here that go all the way back to my first foray into the world of professional theater. Immediately after undergrad, I did an acting apprenticeship at the Actors Theatre of Louisville where I was in the same Apprentice Company as Rebecca Brooksher who plays Tamrin in the show. And, that same season at ATL, Rebecca and I both got to see Lisa Peterson's production of Mac Wellman's brilliant play, The Allegory of Whiteness. So, the fact that I'm in the room now with both those women feels very much like a coming home.

Which mythical character would like your show the best: Cyclops, Cupid, Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny?
Cupid. Definitely. Armed with a box of tissues, and maybe a dictionary.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Productions and paying artists. That's it. There are plenty of spaces in the world where plays can take place. We already have administrators of theater that get paid living wages. What we need are more productions of new plays and the ability to pay the artists. That's why I'm so grateful to The Cherry Lane for giving Exile this opportunity.