Under the aegis of the Missouri Playwrights Workshop, on Sunday, May 7th, 11:30 AM (CST), 19:30 (EEST), via zoom (https://umsystem.zoom.us/j/4789393847), I am organizing a workshop cold (unrehearsed) reading of my play Yeni Camii: El Éxtasis De Sabbatai Sevi, a play about the Dönmeh and their world of old Salonica which is the fourth play of my 2022-23 Fulbright project Mi Corazón Español Vive Ahora En Grecia: Six Plays of Sephardic Spain & Greece. The play will be a cold reading featuring student actors from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. This will be the first of several readings over this Spring and Summer that I’ll be doing to further develop these Fulbright plays for future publication and production. We’ll also be featuring New York actor, Eli Ganias, who is a professional performer of Greek-American Heritage, and is known for American Splendor (2003), Law & Order (1990) and Life with Althaar (2019), and David Marcia, a recent Mizzou Phd Alum, who taught and directed at Indiana State University for many years.
SYNOPSIS: This play conflates the Yeni Camii, the New Mosque of the Dönmeh of Thessaloniki past with that of its haunted present—An artist, RAPHAEL (RAFE) BENRUBI and his fellow artists, are preparing the space for an exhibition featuring paintings of the Sephirot, which as they haphazardly practice a Kabbalistic ritual, open a whirlwind of past, present, and future, from which they cannot escape and are forced to experience. They find themselves at crucial moments in the life of Sabbatai Sevi, the famous seventeenth-century Jewish false messiah, and the history of the Donmeh, the moments of his initiation into his messianic career—touching briefly upon the more recent events of the rise of the Turkish State, with a guest appearance by Attaturk.
STAGE DIRECTIONS – Panayiotis Papadopoulos
RAFE - Jerry Commonduck (Gerasimos Papikinos)
NISA – Zoi Vrentzou
VASIA - Lydia Kaloyianni
ADA – Konstantina Lampropoulou
YIANNIS - Eli Ganias
KOSTAS - David Marcia
Again, this will be an online workshop reading of the play, and I am particularly grateful to the wonderful student performers from Aristotle University for their assistance in reading the play. I hope you can all join us in this experience.
Professor of Playwriting, Acting, & Dramatic Literature
Artistic Director, Missouri Playwrights Workshop
Co-Director, MU Writing for Performance Program
Treasurer, Edward Albee Society
Fulbright Liaison, Office of the Provost
Department of Theatre
University of Missouri