By Brian Robin
Top Five Reasons to See "avaaz"—Now In Its Final Week
It’s the final week of avaaz by Michael Shayan, which means you have a limited time to experience what Eric Marchese in the Newport Beach Independentdescribed as “Compelling drama…skillfully told.”
Here are five more reasons to see it:
- Roya’s Impeccable Hospitality. Before Shayan—as his mother—begins her story, Roya greets guests with the casual, comforting warmth of an old friend. She also teaches you about the traditions of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
- Great Storytelling. At its heart, avaaz is a biography, a love letter to Shayan’s mother and a tale about that special bond between a mother and her son. Shayan weaves all these elements into an entertaining tapestry that nimbly tells her story—and his. “I set out to find my mother’s voice, and in the process, I found my own voice,” Shayan said. “I was able to bring all the different parts of myself together.”
- Humor: Shayan’s hilarious explanation of taarof, the Persian ritual of hospitality that mandates a host repeatedly offer anything to a guest, followed by the guest’s repeated obligatory refusal, is a riot. Even as he navigates the painful elements of his mother’s journey, Shayan finds laughs in virtually any situation.
- The All-Star Creative Team. Helming avaaz is director Moritz von Stuelpnagel, a Tony Award-nominated director who is one of the most in-demand theatre directors in the country. You’ve got Tony Award-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt creating the magnificent Haft-Sin table set. There’s Emmy Award-winning costume designer Joshua “Domino” Schwartz and Drama Desk Award-winning lighting designer Amith Chandrashaker. And there’s Shayan himself, who was recently nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his writing on the Discovery+ show “The Book of Queer.”
- Bragging Rights. SCR is home to avaaz’s world premiere. Next March, avaaz goes to the Olney Theatre Center in Maryland. With aspirations for more engagements, you get to say “I saw it first at SCR!”
- avaaz runs through Saturday, May 27 on the Segerstrom Stage.