I am all for collaborations like the one that brought WE WILL RISE: THE AFGHAN WOMEN’S WRITING PROJECT to life. The KNOW Theatre, in conjunction with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, hosted a theatrical reading of several of the pieces curated by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek from actual Afghans.
Torie Wiggins, Amy Warner, Burgess Byrd, Maya Farhat, Maliyah Gramata-Jones, and Lauren Hayes all took the stage and brought their unique voices to give a voice to these women who’s stories might otherwise not be heard. Wiggins has such presence whenever she is on stage. She’s truly excellent. Burgess Byrd has charisma for days and her impassioned reading of “The Meaning of Democracy” was a highlight. Amy Warner is always solid and I’m sad to see her leaving Cincinnati. Hopefully the right role(s) may lure her back to town from time to time. I’m also a fan of Maya Farhat ever since I saw her in THE CRUCIBLE. She has a maturity for a college sophomore that indicates natural talent and a depth of understanding of herself. Speaking of maturity, the program lists Maliyah Gramata-Jones as a high school student . . . and I would have never guessed that. She is very good! Hayes, who was last seen in PLUTO, is quite expressive and is putting her NKU education to good use with two back to back shows at the KNOW.
If I had any complaints, it did seem as if some of the performers weren’t as familiar with their texts as maybe they should have been and their lack of preparation was a bit distracting. However, it was a nice afternoon at the theatre with some heavy and powerful content made accessible to Cincinnati audiences. Kudos to the KNOW for that!
This is important work that the KNOW, the Freedom Center, and especially the curators of the project are doing. To learn more about the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, click here. Stay tuned to the KNOW’s web site for information on their next show, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY by Tom Jacobson opening on April 4th. We’ll have more details about it as soon as they release them.