A new original show created by, for, with and about the people of Cedar Riverside
By David Grant, with Somali and Oromo translation by the Voices of Cedar Riverside Ensemble
Directed by John Bueche, Ensemble Coaching by Maren Ward
Performed by the Voices of Cedar Riverside Ensemble of emerging East African youth and young adult actors: Amal Ali, Sakariya Ali, Samira Ali, Chaltu Berento, Abdi Farah, Fardosa Jama, Shamarke Jama, Ifrah Mansour, Hamdi Mohamed, Shirwa Mohamed, Sara Mohammed Nur, Shemse Nuru, Shaadiah Swenson, Farrington Starnes
Cedar Riverside Community Weekend – Saturday & Sunday, July 23 & 24 – doors at 5:00pm, Program at 6 pm with additional performances of music, comedy and storytelling by East African artists. Tickets are free (bring your ANCR card, or sign up for a new one at the door)
Public Weekend– Thursday – Sunday, July 28-31 – Doors at 6pm, Show at 7 pm
Tickets $15 / $10 for Students (free for Cedar Residents with ANCR card)
CALL 612-338-6131 to BUY TICKETS or visit MIXEDBLOOD.COM
ABOUT THE PLAY
Description For several waves of foreign immigrants to Minnesota, the first chapters of their families’ histories in America were written in Cedar Riverside. The neighborhood’s newest wave of immigrants is East African, largely Somali. Inspired by dozens of their personal narratives, collected during a series of community story circles that Mixed Blood and Bedlam Theaters held throughout the winter and spring of 2011 for Voices of Cedar Riverside, the play that will premiere this summer weaves a fictionalized tapestry of some of these stories into an engaging drama that sheds light on the experiences of the thousands of East African immigrants who are currently writing the history of their own families’ first generations on these shores.
Nadifa Islaweyne is a gifted high school senior with a bright future awaiting her. Abdi Hassan is a respected youth worker, and part-time college student. Their grassroots work together in the neighborhood has brought them together, and a romance has begun to blossom. But Nadifa’s family is skeptical of her community work and concerned about the relationship. The couple’s growing commitment to each other is tested when a close friend of Abdi’s is arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity, and Abdi is arrested on suspicion of sheltering him. Nadifa helps lead the fight to free them and clear their names, a cause which galvanizes and unifies a broad coalition of family, friends and neighbors. Along the way, we get to know a diverse cast of neighborhood characters: Muhammad and his wife Maryam, who run a corner store catering to the Easy African community, a store they are in the process of expanding to include a coffee shop and café; a trio of cab drivers who dream of purchasing a farm where families can raise traditional foods, including livestock intended as a ready supply of halal meat for the major holidays; the men who regularly gather for political talk at Muhammad and Maryam’s place, including Nadifa’s hard-nosed, conservative father, Mr. Islaweyne; the strong women of Nadifa’s family; the talented youth of Abdi and Nadifa’s anti- violence committee, who use their skills as spoken-word artists as tools for peace, unity, and cultural pride. Abdi and Nadifa finally earn a measure of acceptance and respect for their budding relationship, and the community learns that, despite the highly-publicized challenges and issues facing their youth, their community’s kids are more than worthy of their pride and their highest hopes.
In the two year process of creating West Bank Story (2006) Bedlam got to better know its neighbors and its neighborhood, through story circles, interviews, research and community events. Through the process we gathered new friends, partners, perspectives and projects. AND we became committed to the neighborhood wide initiative to improve programs and activities for Cedar Riversides young people. From 2006-2010 Bedlam’s youth program, the CEDAR RIVERSIDE DRAMA CLUB, evolved with the support of numerous partners: Daral Hijrah Islamic Center, Volunteers of America High School, Brian Coyle Community Center, the Confederation of Somali Communities of Minnesota, Students Against Violence, Cedar Riverside NRP, Fairview Hospital, Children’s Home Society and more. In 2010, as the youth gained confidence in themselves and their abilities, the also let us know that… our programs name was… kinda dull. With their help, the program was re-envisioned as the CEDAR RIVERSIDE ART ZONE for YOUTH or C.R.A.Z.Y. Besides the name change, 2010 saw an evolution into expanded teen programming as well as projects to begin to take the youth’s work to a broader audience, with tours of the Young Achievers “We Made It” to “Terror-less” at Bedlam’s 2010 Fest to “Aniga Adiga” at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The VOICES of CEDAR RIVERSIDE Ensemble is comprised of previous C.R.A.Z.Y participants and some new faces. They’ve been training together since January and have worked on translating 25% of the script into Somali. Now they are hard at work preparing the final presentation of XAFADEENA – for you! You will not want to miss this.