THE INVISIBLE HAND
LA Times picks ETC's THE INVISIBLE HAND as "CRITIC’S CHOICE"
A RIVETING evening of dramatic storytelling.” -Broadway World
THE INVISIBLE HAND is a BONA FIDE HIT.” -Montecito Journal
ETC scores a hit with THE INVISIBLE HAND" -Santa Barbara Independent
By Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Jonathan Fox
A Co-production with The English Theatre Frankfurt
April 12 - 29, 2018
ETC's 2017-18 Season Sponsored by Leatrice Luria
Production Sponsored By Chuck and Missy Sheldon. With Additional Sponsorship from Gwen and Henry Baker, Kathy Weber, Eve Bernstein and Theater League.
Photo: David Bazemore
In the spring, ETC will present Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar’s gripping new play, The Invisible Hand.This production is presented in a co-production with The English Theater Frankfurt, continental Europe’s largest English-speaking theater. Their most recent collaboration was on their critically-acclaimed 2016 production of Bad Jews.
Mujahid Abdul-Rashid (Imam Saleem) is happy to be at Ensemble Theatre Company for the first time. This marks the second time that he has played the role Imam Saleem in The Invisible Hand, the first time being last year at The American Theater Company in St. Petersburg, FL, where he won a “Best Featured Actor” award. Mujahid has performed in seven August Wilson plays, including: Troy in Fences (twice), most recently at The Short North Theater in Columbus, OH; Becker in Jitney at The American Stage Co., FL; Hedley in Seven Guitars at The Artist Rep in Portland, OR; Bynum in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at The American Stage Co.; Memphis Lee in Two Trains Running at Theater Works in Palo Alto, CA; Doaker in The Piano Lesson at The Portland Playhouse Portland, OR; Caesar Wilks in Gem of the Ocean at The Cygnet Theater in San Diego, CA; Doub in Jitney at The Portland Playhouse; and Canewell in Seven Guitars at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco, CA. He has also played five different roles in James Baldwin’s short story Sonny’s Blues for Word For Word Theater Co. in San Francisco and France.
Jameal Ali (Bashir) is thrilled to be making his West Coast debut at Ensemble Theatre Company! Jameal was born and raised in London, and has been based in New York since 2014. Off-Broadway he appeared in the Obie award-winning production of The Invisible Hand at New York Theatre Workshop. Other notable stage credits include: Romeo and Juliet at the Classical Theatre of Harlem; and The Invisible Hand at Westport Country Playhouse, where he was nominated for a 2017 Connecticut Critics Circle Award. Some of his London theatre credits include: Titus Andronicus (Rosemead), Murmuring Judges, Our Country’s Good, Bodas De Sangre (Soulfire Theatre); Yerma, Tartuffe (The People’s Palladium); Troilus and Cressida (The Cockpit Theatre). Film and television credits include: “Hunted,” “Spooks,” “SuperDigi,” “Swan’s Cry,” “Yolk White Shell.” Jameal would like to thank the love of his life, his wife, Britni for EVERYTHING.
Sarang Sharma (Dar) NYC-based actor Sarang Sharma recently graduated from the William Esper Studio conservatory program, where he was trained to act for stage and film. In addition to being a Meisner-trained actor, Sarang is also a poet and writer and enjoys producing plays and short comedic sketches for Putnam Manor Productions. On weekends you may find Sarang working as a clown at children’s birthday parties and celebrations — which is the best way to afford New York rent payments, in his opinion. Sarang is thrilled to be a representative of the budding new talent of first-generation American artists and looks forward to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds to promote the new American Dream. I would like to thank everyone involved with the production of The Invisible Hand, and all my teachers and mentors — especially Bruce McCarty — and my first teachers and biggest supporters, my parents.
John Tufts (Nick Bright) is thrilled to be returning to ETC, where he last appeared as Charlotte and 35 other characters in I Am My Own Wife. Off-Broadway: Primary Stages: Pride and Prejudice; Ensemble Studio Theater: Virtual Meditation; Mint Theatre: Fashions for Men. Chicago: Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Love’s Labor’s Lost, and the epic 6-part history cycle, Tug of War. Theater: In 12 seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Into the Woods, Equivocation (world premiere also at Arena Stage, Seattle Rep), The Belle’s Stratagem, and many more. The Guthrie Theater: The Cocoanuts; Marin Theatre Company: Seagull; PlayMakers Repertory Company: The Glass Menagerie; Ensemble Theater Company: I Am My Own Wife. Film/Television: “Bad Teacher,” “Fashions for Men” (PBS), Dangers of a Broken Car, BAQ-132. Awards: Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting; Indy Award for I Am My Own Wife; Wall St. Journal Best of 2016 for Tug Of War. Training: B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University. www.john-tufts.com.
Ayad Akhtar (Playwright) was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His play Disgraced played at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and premiered at the Bush Theater in London in May 2013. Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His play The Invisible Hand was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and won Best New Work 2013 from the St. Louis Theater Critics Circle. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing.
Jonathan Fox (Director) joined ETC in 2006. He adapted and directed ETC’s recent production of Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives. His other ETC productions include Porgy and Bess, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, Woyzeck, Amadeus, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, and a dozen others. He directed Opera Santa Barbara’s 2014 production of The Consul at the Granada Theatre. He has collaborated with the Santa Barbara Symphony on their Shakespeare and Valentine’s Day concerts. In 2016, he directed ETC’s production of Bad Jews, which traveled to Germany for the play’s German premiere. Other European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The English Theatre Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as Managing Director of the company from 1994-99, and subsequently became its Artistic Director. For Two River, he directed their recent world premiere production of Lives of Reason. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theater departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.
Charlie Corcoran (Scenic Designer) Regional theatre designs include: Bad Jews (Ensemble Theatre Company/English Theatre of Frankfurt), A Comedy of Tenors (Outer Critics Circle Award) (Cleveland Playhouse/McCarter Theatre), Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (The Goodman Theatre), The Barber Of Seville, The Marriage Of Figaro (The McCarter Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Absurd Person Singular, Lives of Reason (Two River Theatre), Without Walls (Center Theatre Group), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Buck’s County Playhouse). NY scenic designs include: The Seafarer, Shining City, The Weir and The Quare Land (Origin, First Irish Award), The Emperor Jones (Hewes design award nomination) at the Irish Repertory Theatre, Billy and Ray (Vineyard Theatre), Straight (Acorn Theatre), Craving for Travel (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre), The Last Smoker In America (Westside Theatre), A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane), The Bully Pulpit (Beckett Theatre), and Exits And Entrances (Primary Stages). Recent opera designs include: Fidelio at the Santa Fe Opera, The Bartered Bride, Cosi Fan Tutte (co-production Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard), Katya Kabanova, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni (Juilliard), L’Opera Seria (Wolftrap Opera), The Magic Flute, The Bartered Bride (Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara). The Turn of the Screw (Opera Columbus), TV design work includes: “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS), “Mozart in the Jungle” (Amazon), “Believe” (NBC), “Madam Secretary” (CBS).
Dianne K. Graebner (Costume Designer) received her MFA in Costume/Set Design from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has designed and created costumes nationwide in theater, film and television. Off Broadway — Church & State at New World Stages. For The English Theatre, Frankfurt, Germany — Bad Jews. For Ensemble Theatre Company, she designed Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Husbands & Wives, Syncopation, Chapter Two, Macbeth, Fallen Angels (Indy Award), Bad Jews, Women in Jeopardy!, Sweeney Todd, Venus in Fur, Amadeus, Intimate Apparel, Red, The Best Brothers, Frankie and Johnny, Opus, and Bell, Book and Candle. She is a member of Circle X Theatre Co. and designed their productions of The Flu Season, Eurydice, The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder, and Chinese Massacre, and was nominated for an Ovation Award for her work on The Brothers Karamazov and an L.A. Weekly award for Battle Hymn. A few of her recent credits include: Ay, Carmela! at the Hudson, working with Frank Gehry and Gustavo Dudamel, Breath and Imagination at Virginia Stage Co., Best of Enemies, The Fabulous Lipitones, What I Learned in Paris, Breath and Imagination (NAACP nomination), The Road to Appomattox, Sex and Education, and Falling for Make Believe and others at the Colony Theatre, Dogeaters and Clay at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, A Delicate Balance at The Odyssey Theatre, The Happiest Song Plays Last and Bright Light City at LATC, opening and closing weeks of 365 Days/365 Plays at Center Theatre Group, Dying City (Ovation Winner — Production of the Year) Rogue Machine Theatre Co., the original Los Angeles production of Philosophy of the World, The Shaggs. She has also originated the costumes for many new works and world premieres. She is a member of United Scenic Artists Local-829.
Jean-Yves Tessier (Lighting Designer) is a primate with a single opposable thumb. He hails from the cold reaches of Canada and once had a sexy French accent. He has since lost it. If found please take good care of it. Selected credits include: 3D Theatricals (Fullerton, CA), Ragtime (2015 Ovation Award Nominee), Parade (2013 Ovation Award Nominee), Hairspray Actors Co-Op (Hollywood, CA), Turn of the Screw (2017 Ovation Award Nominee). McCoy-Rigby Entertainment (La Mirada, CA): Boeing Boeing, Ring of Fire (2012 Ovation Award Nominee), Smokey Joe’s Cafe. A Noise Within (Pasadena, CA): Antigone, Arcadia. DOMA (Hollywood, CA) American Idiot, Young Frankenstein (2015 Ovation Award Nominee). Bald Ego Productions (Toronto, Canada): Three Penny Epic Cabaret, To Damasacus. Ensemble Theatre Company (Santa Barbara, CA): The Housewives of Mannheim, Loot, In The Continuum. Remember the Alhecama!
Randall Robert Tico (Composer/Sound Designer) This is Randall’s fourth original score and sound design for Ensemble Theatre Company, the others being Macbeth and Husbands & Wives, directed by Jonathan Fox, and Baby Doll, directed by Jenny Sullivan. Also with Sullivan is the ’18 world premiere of Jackie Unveiled at the Wallis. Other recent works include Astoria Part One & Two for Portland Center Stage, directed by Chris Coleman. More with Coleman and PCS are Othello, Anna Karenina, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, The Imaginary Invalid, and Snow Falling on Cedars. With director Nancy Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Ensemble are Apollo at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (Garland Award and an Ovation Award nomination), Ameryka (2016 Ovation nomination) Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play (Theatre @ Boston Court), Antigone (Portland Center Stage for which he won a Drammy Award), The Ahkmatova Project, Dr. Faustus, The Rover, and Measure for Measure. Further works include Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, the vocal score for David Hare’s version of Mother Courage, and music and sound design for The Glass Menagerie, all directed by Jessica Kubzansky, original music for Magic Fruit (Cornerstone), Shishir Kurup director, and composer/sound designer for the ’14-’16 Launch Pad program @ UCSB with director Risa Brainin.
Abigail Strange (Production Stage Manager) Select Off-Broadway: What We Wanted (PSM), Philoctetes (PSM), Cagney (York Theatre, Asst. Director/SDC Observer), Clinton The Musical (Asst. Director), Tail! Spin! (Asst. Director), Ethel Sings (PSM), Here Lies Love (Public Theatre, PA), Murder for Two (New World Stages, PA) Select NYC: A Streetcar Named Desire (Carnegie Hall, PA), Lincoln Center Out of Doors & Midsummer Night’s Swing (Stage Manager) Select Regional: A Christmas Carol (Hangar Theatre, PSM), Spamilton (Royal George Theatre, PSM) Guys & Dolls (Bucks County Playhouse, PA).
Sam Lahne (Dramaturg) is a playwright and dramaturg who originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now happy to call Santa Barbara his home. He is thrilled to be working as the resident production dramaturg for Ensemble Theatre Company’s 2017-18 season. As a dramaturg, he has worked on the development and production of a number of plays, including the world premieres of Jonathan Fox’s adaptation of Husbands and Wives (ETC SB), Aaron Posner’s Stupid F-ing Bird (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, DC), and Mia Chung’s You for Me for You (Woolly Mammoth). He has served as the Literary Assistant at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and at New Dramatists in New York. Sam’s own plays have been produced and developed at theatres across the country, including the Playwrights’ Center (MN), Bay Area Playwrights Festival (CA), the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network (DC), Barter Theatre Company (VA), Scripps Ranch Theater (CA), and the Jewish Plays Project (NY). Sam received his BA from Vassar College and his MFA from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Amy Lieberman, CSA (Casting Director): Six-time Artios Award winner. Center Theatre Group, 1982–1990 and 1999–2006. Broadway (The Dinner Party, Flower Drum Song, Big River). Ongoing: Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara (10 seasons). Other: Reprise Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre, ACT, Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Rubicon, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Actors Theatre of Louisville, L.A. Theatre Works’ The Play’s the Thing series, North Coast Repertory and more. Film and TV throughout the 90’s. Visiting Associate Professor at UCLA’s MFA program 2007-2013.
Kenneth Merckx (Fight Choreographer) has choreographed fights and taught actors theatrical combat for film, television, theatre and universities all across the country. Ken is the resident fight choreographer for the Idaho & Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals, A Noise Within (Los Angeles) and the Great Lakes Theater (Cleveland). He is proud to have staged violence for the world premieres of Steven Dietz’s Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (Pasadena Playhouse), Jeffery Hatcher’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (San Jose Repertory) and The Suicide Club (Arizona Theatre Company), Octavio Solis’ Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), Jane Martin’s Somebody/Nobody, directed by Jon Jory (Arizona Theatre Company) and the theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (San Jose Repertory). Mr. Merckx received his MFA, in acting, from the University of Illinois and his BA, in theatre studies, from the University of Washington. He received an Ovation Award in 2013 for his fight choreography in A Noise Within’s production of Cymbeline.
Ensemble Theatre Company began as the Ensemble Theatre Project in 1978 under the direction of Joseph Hanreddy. For the first three years, plays were performed at Trinity Episcopal Church. In 1981, ETC made the 140-seat Alhecama Theatre its home for more than 25 years. Beginning in 2009, ETC undertook a $12.6 million renovation of the Victoria Hall Theater. It opened its new 300-seat home, the New Vic, in 2013. The New Vic has become a venue for dance, music, film, and lectures. After Joseph Hanreddy left Santa Barbara in 1985, Robert Grande Weiss became Artistic Director, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. Jonathan Fox assumed the position of Executive Artistic Director in September 2006 and saw the company through great expansion. Jill Seltzer joined ETC as its Managing Director in 2016. ETC, which became an Equity theater in 1989, is Santa Barbara’s sole professional theater company. The company, which presents five or six plays per season, has produced several American and West Coast premieres and has garnered numerous awards over the years.
The English Theatre Frankfurt (Co-Presentor) Founded more than 36 years ago, the English Theatre Frankfurt is continental Europe’s largest English-speaking theatre. The English Theatre plays an important role in the cultural life of Frankfurt, one of Germany’s most international cities. Each season, more than 80,000 visitors enjoy its wide range of classics, comedies, thrillers and musicals, all produced to the highest professional standards. As befits a high-calibre international institution, the theatre’s creative and technical staff come from many different countries. Its shows are generally cast in the U.S. and Great Britain, where initial rehearsals take place before transferring to Frankfurt.
Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity’s mission is to advance, promote and foster the art of live theater as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 45,000 actors, singers, dancers and stage managers working in hundreds of theaters across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theater as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits including health and pension plans for its members. Through its agreement with Equity, this theatre has committed to the fair treatment of the actors and stage managers employed in this production. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. For more information, visit www.actorsequity.org.
- Book Club, Apr 18, 2018, 5:30 - 6:30pm: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, Apr 18 & 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, Apr 20, 2018 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, Apr 26, 2018: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.