9 Parts of Desire, a Perspective on Love and Courage in a War-Torn World

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University Players at California State University, Long BeachUniversity Players at California State University, Long Beach, present 9 Parts of Desire, by Heather Raffo, March 18, 2011 through April 9th. The play is co-directed by Anne Justine D’Zmura and Trevor Biship and deals with nine Iraqi women’s perspectives on love and courage in a war-torn world.

D’Zmura describes the immediacy of the piece, “Considering everything that is happening in the world today… it is very timely. These are women’s stories, yet they give a larger picture of society in general.  It is a celebration of human courage, fortitude, perseverance, suffering, pain and triumph despite horrific times, events….It allows us to look into a world that most of us only see via tailored perspectives on TV or in the news.”

The design of the piece is simple but striking. D’Zmura continues, “We’ve created a ‘storytelling’ space that transforms through the women’s actions and interactions with the world around them. This is a window into a culture dissimilar yet shockingly similar to our own…” The piece, she hopes will give audiences, “A stronger perspective of the cost of war on individual lives, making the unfamiliar, familiar.”

Anne Justine D’Zmura has served as resident director at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis where she directed Peer Gynt, Bert’s Folly, Billy and Dago, and Poster of the Cosmos. She was also artistic associate for the NYC-based The Acting Company where she directed the national tours of Macbeth and The Tempest; artistic associate for the Playwright’s Center where she spearheaded the Stage-Time New Play Series and co-artistic director for Yale Cabaret. Anne currently serves as Head of Directing at California State University, Long Beach, where she has directed both scripted and original pieces, including an original ecodrama titled Green Piece. She has directed at South Coast Repertory, A Noise Within, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and The Cricket Theatre. She served as guest director/educator at The Juilliard School and USD/Old Globe Theatre, and assistant director to Trevor Nunn for Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia on Broadway. Anne is the recipient of a National Endowment for The Arts/TCG Directing Fellowship.

Trevor Biship directs the works of diverse contemporary playwrights such as Larry Kramer, Suzan-Lori Parks and Sarah Ruhl.  He has worked with both University Players and CSULB-based California Repertory Company in the past, directing Miss Julie, Our Town, Machinal and Durang Durang for the undergraduate program and The Kentucky Cycle for Cal Rep (nominated for Best Ensemble by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle). Formerly, he was the Literary Manager and Resident Director for (Mostly) Harmless Theatre in St. Louis. In the summer, Trevor will direct the Southern California premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera for the Chance Theatre. He received an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of California, Irvine.

9 Parts of Desire opens Friday, March 18, 2011 and runs for fifteen performances, closing on Saturday, April 9th.  Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m. This production is in the Players Theatre on the CSULB South Campus, accessible via both East and West Campus Drive. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students (with valid ID). For tickets and information, please call (562) 985-5526 or visit www.csulb.edu/depts/theatre.

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