For Immediate Release: Press Contact: Lauren Beyea
December 14, 2007 202.547.3230 ext. 2314
SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY LAUNCHES
YOUTH AND FAMILY SERIES WITH
On the Eve of Friday Morning
BY NORMAN ALLEN
DIRECTED BY DAVID MUSE
World Premiere Commissioned by the Shakespeare Theatre Company
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Shakespeare Theatre Company announced that its Youth
and Family Series will begin with On the Eve of Friday Morning, a newly commissioned play by
award-winning local playwright Norman Allen. Nassrin, a contemporary girl in Iran, spends a
night awaiting word of her imprisoned father’s fate. To pass the hours, her mother tells her the
tale of Mushkil Gusha, a central story of their ancient Persian culture. As if by magic, Nassrin
travels to a distant time to meet strange and wonderful characters and to learn the power of
storytelling. Directed by Shakespeare Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director David Muse,
the production runs from January 12 to January 19, 2008, at Sidney Harman Hall, with public
performances January 12 at 11 a.m. and January 13 and 19 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. School
performances are January 14 and 17 at 12:30 p.m. Muse directs a cast that includes Neema Atri,
Ed Chemaly, Judith Delgado, Tiffany Fillmore, Craig Wallace and Anu Yadav. The
production is appropriate for ages eight and up.
On the Eve of Friday Morning is sponsored by a grant from Judy and Leo Zickler.
In Iran, Nassrin’s father has been imprisoned for teaching banned books. While Nassrin
waits for word of his release, her mother tells the ancient Persian tale of Mushkil Gusha, one
customarily told before the Friday holy day. Through the magic of storytelling, Nassrin steps into
the story, where she meets Bahad, a boy from a thousand years ago. Together they meet
unusual characters, visit worlds beyond the clouds, and learn the ways of the mysterious Mushkil
Gusha. On her adventure, Nassrin discovers the importance of passing on good fortune to those
“The characters in On the Eve of Friday Morning aren’t religious extremists or the political
enemies of our government,” said director David Muse. “They are normal boys and girls and
mothers and fathers. In today’s world, a play that focuses on the common humanity that unites us
rather than the differences that divide us is a rare thing.”
“The original inspiration for this play lies in my frustration with hearing Iran described in
broad, sweeping and dismissive language – specifically as part of the ‘axis of evil,’” said
playwright Norman Allen. “Certainly many of the Iranian government’s policies are deeply
On the Eve of Friday Morning, p. 2
disturbing, but I’m not ready to dismiss the people of an entire country as evil. After all, Iran used
to be Persia, and the riches to be found in exploring Persian culture are boundless. I hope the
play encourages people, young and old, to look beneath the surface – to go beyond the political
jargon or the news headlines.”
YOUTH AND FAMILY SERIES
The Youth and Family Series (YFS) introduces younger audiences to classic literature
from around the world through age-appropriate productions of 60 to 90 minutes in length. YFS
productions are offered for school groups during the week and for families on the weekends. On
The Eve of Friday Morning is based on a popular Persian folktale. It provides connections to core
content in social studies, language arts, history, geography and theatre.
Norman Allen is the author of Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding
Play) and In The Garden (Charles MacArthur Award, Outstanding New Play), which premiered at
Signature Theatre, along with Fallen from Proust, Melville Slept Here and The Christmas Carol
Rag. Nijinsky’s Last Dance has been produced in Budapest, Johannesburg, across the United
States, and at the Edinburgh Festival. It was revived for a month-long run at the Kennedy Center,
where Allen’s play for young audiences, The Light of Excalibur, was commissioned and
produced. Other local credits include the premiere of Coffee With Richelieu, directed by Jim
Petosa at the Olney Theatre Center, and the Washington Ballet’s Journey Home, choreographed
by Septime Webre and featuring the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock. Current projects
include a new musical, written with composer Frank Wildhorn and commissioned by the historic
Karlin Music Theatre in Prague.
Allen is a recipient of a Helen Hayes Award for his work as a playwright and two Capital
Region Emmy Awards for his work with PBS-TV. Allen’s work for television includes PBS
documentaries on Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne and John Singer Sargent. He
received his first regional Emmy Award for his work on Renoir to Rothko/The Eye of Duncan
Phillips, an in-depth look at the world-famous Phillips Collection.
Allen’s work for the theatre is published by Playscripts, Inc. In addition to providing
commentary for WAMU’s Metro Connection, he has written on the arts and current affairs for
numerous publications, including Smithsonian, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun and
In addition to his writing projects, Allen teaches English at the Cesar Chavez Public
Charter High School in Washington, D.C.
David Muse makes his Shakespeare Theatre Company mainstage directorial debut with
On the Eve of Friday Morning. As Associate Artistic Director for the Company, Muse directed the
On the Eve of Friday Morning, p. 3
2006 Free For All production of Pericles and served as assistant director for Othello, Lady
Windermere’s Fan, The Tempest, Pericles and Macbeth. Muse’s regional credits include Studio
Theatre’s Secondstage production of Frozen and The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Helen
Hayes Nominations for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Resident Play), Frankie and
Johnny in the Claire de Lune at Arena Stage and The Bluest Eye at Theatre Alliance, among
others. Additional credits include Swansong by Patrick Page at the New York City Summer Play
Festival and multiple events for the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. Muse was recipient of a
2006 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist and the National Theatre
Conference Emerging Artist Award. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Yale School of
Anu Yadav makes her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut as Nassrin. Yadav‘s
regional credits include Gabrielle in Hansel and Gretel Eat Crabs, her nationally touring solo play
‘Capers, Haroun and the Sea of Stories at Theatre Alliance, Venture Theatre’s Boy in Boy and
others. Yadav was a recipient of the 2006 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist
and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ 2008 Artist Fellowship. She recently
completed a National Performance Network Residency with Carpetbag Theater Company in
Neema Atri makes his Shakespeare Theatre Company debut as Bahad, an orphan boy.
A student at Centreville High School, Atri’s recent performance credits include Jeckyll and Hyde,
Father of the Bride, Wild Oats, Footloose and The Nifty Fifties. He also recently appeared as a
soloist at the Kennedy Center’s Cappies Gala.
Ed Chemaly makes his Shakespeare Theatre Company debut as Baba Kharkan. A
graduate of The Actor’s Institute, Chemaly’s Off-Broadway credits include Magic Hands Freddy
and The Gathering. His regional credits include Sonny in Philadelphia’s Triangle Theatre
production of Moolah (for which he received a Philly Award nomination) and productions of
Overruled, Sweet Charity, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Fantasticks,
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Electra and others.
Judith Delgado makes her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut as Mother. Delgado’s
numerous regional credits include performances at the Geva Theatre Center, Hartford Stage,
Laguna Playhouse, Denver Center Theater, New York Fringe Festival, Connecticut Repertory,
Coconut Grove Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival and others. Delgado also has
appeared on NBC’s Law and Order and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, HBO’s OZ and films
such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Miami Blues.
Tiffany Fillmore returns to the Shakespeare Theatre Company to play the Princess and
a Neighbor in On the Eve of Friday Morning. Fillmore appeared in the Company’s productions of
Pericles and The Rivals. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, her regional credits include
performances at Woolly Mammoth, Round House Theatre, Folger Theatre, Theater J, African
Continuum Theatre, Imagination Stage and the Journeymen Theater.
On the Eve of Friday Morning, p. 4
Craig Wallace returns to the Shakespeare Theatre Company to play the Naqqal.
Wallace’s Shakespeare Theatre Company credits include Tamburlaine, Edward II, Hamlet (2007),
Othello with Patrick Stewart (1997) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (1998). His regional credits
include performances at Ford’s Theatre, Folger Theatre, Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Woolly
Mammoth, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Shakespeare Santa
Cruz. Wallace holds a BFA from Howard University and an MFA from Pennsylvania State
University, with additional training at the Royal National Theatre, London.
For the production, Muse and his designers have created a world that depicts modern
Iran, a Persian village of a thousand years ago and a magical fairytale world. Set Designer
James Kronzer has created a simple series of partial arches and doorways to represent the
story’s palaces and homes. Kronzer most recently designed the set for the Shakespeare Theatre
Company’s productions of The Beaux’ Stratagem and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Kronzer also
has designed for Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theater,
Studio Theatre, Theater J and for the national tours of Seussical, Showboat and Damn Yankees.
Costume Designer Erin Nugent makes her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut, creating
costumes with fanciful Middle Eastern design flourishes. The design team also includes Lighting
Designer Mark McCullough (STC’s Tamburlaine; Edward II; Titus Andronicus; Richard III, 2003;
and Hamlet, 2001), Sound Designer Daniel Baker and Voice and Text Coach Gary Logan.
In conjunction with the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of On the Eve of
Friday Morning, the Company’s Development Department will host an Opening Celebration on
Saturday, January 12, at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include a performance of On the Eve of
Friday Morning and a special post-performance reception featuring food and activities that
celebrate Persian culture. Interested patrons should call 202.547.3230 ext. 2713 or email
FamilyFestival@ShakespeareTheatre.org for more information.
On the Eve of Friday Morning, p. 5
FACT SHEET: On the Eve of Friday Morning
By Norman Allen
Directed by David Muse
World Premiere Commissioned by the Shakespeare Theatre Company
The Shakespeare Theatre Company announced that its Youth and Family Series will
begin with On the Eve of Friday Morning, a newly commissioned play by award-winning local
playwright Norman Allen. Nassrin, a contemporary girl in Iran, spends a night awaiting word of
her imprisoned father’s fate. To pass the hours, her mother tells her the tale of Mushkil Gusha, a
central story of their ancient Persian culture. As if by magic, Nassrin travels to a distant time to
meet strange and wonderful characters and to learn the power of storytelling. Directed by
Shakespeare Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director David Muse, the production runs from
January 12 to January 19, 2008, at Sidney Harman Hall and is appropriate for ages eight and up.
Muse directs a cast that includes Neema Atri, Ed Chemaly, Judith Delgado, Tiffany Fillmore,
Craig Wallace and Anu Yadav.
DATES: January 12 to January 19, 2008
Press Performance: January 12, 2008, at 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW, at the corner of Sixth and F Streets NW.
TIMES: Public performances are January 12, at 11 a.m.; January 13, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.;
January 19, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. School performances are January 14-18, at 12:30 p.m.
TICKETS: All tickets are $15. Interested patrons should call the Shakespeare Theatre Company
Box Office at 202.547.1122. Interested school groups should contact Group Sales at
202.547.1122, option 5, for availability.
YOUTH AND FAMILY SERIES: Youth and Family Series (YFS) introduces younger audiences to
classic literature from around the world through age-appropriate productions of 60 to 90 minutes
in length. YFS productions are offered for school groups during the week and for families on the
weekends. On The Eve of Friday Morning is based on a popular Persian folktale. It provides
connections to core content in social studies, language arts, history, geography and theatre.
ACCESSIBILITY: Sidney Harman Hall is accessible to persons with disabilities, offering
wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms, audio enhancement, and Braille and large print
PARKING: Paid parking is available at the Interpark garage located directly beneath the Sidney
Harman Hall and AARP Headquarters block; enter from E or F streets between Sixth and
METRO: Gallery Pl-Chinatown station (Red, Yellow and Green Lines): Patrons attending
performances at Sidney Harman Hall should exit using the Arena/7th Street exit. Harman Hall is
visible one block to your left. Judiciary Square station (Red Line): Take the F Street Exit toward
the National Building Museum, turn left and walk one and one-half blocks along F Street to Sixth
Box Office: 202.547.1122 (voice) TTY: 202.638.3863 Toll Free: 877.487.8849