Ali and Ali

By Caymar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Marcus Youssef

Ali and Ali
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In this sequel to the hilarious and hard-hitting The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, the agitprop collaborative team of Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Marcus Youssef turns its idiosyncratic brand of political satire to new global realities.

Following the ... Read more


Overview

In this sequel to the hilarious and hard-hitting The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, the agitprop collaborative team of Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Marcus Youssef turns its idiosyncratic brand of political satire to new global realities.

Following the election of U.S. president Barack Obama in 2008, collective optimism for a more tolerant, peaceful, and co-operative post-Bush world spreads to Canada – and to the backroom of Salim’s Falafel Shoppe in Toronto. There, Ali Hakim and Ali Ababwa, refugee entertainers from the fictitious, war-torn country of Agraba, are inspired to write a stage play in celebration of the new president’s message of “hope and change.” The premiere of their Yo Mama, Osbama! (or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Half-Black President) halts abruptly when an RCMP constable arrives at the theatre and arrests the pair for its financial ties to the Agrabanian People’s Front, an alleged “terrorist organization” on the Canadian government’s watch list.

Continuity becomes more apparent than change when Ali and Ali are swiftly put on trial. As the hapless playwrights try to defend themselves in the farcical deportation hearing that unfolds, racial and cultural stereotypes are invoked – and lampooned – as quickly as dubious evidence is presented. But, in the midst of the biting comedy, more serious questions are raised about the cost for some when we endeavour to protect the “freedoms” of others.

Cast of 1 woman and 3 men.

Guillermo Verdecchia

Guillermo Verdecchia
Guillermo Verdecchia is a writer of drama, fiction, and film; a director, dramaturge, actor and translator whose work has been seen and heard on stages, screens, and radios across the country and around the globe. He is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Drama, a four-time winner of the Chalmers Canadian Play Award, a recipient of Dora and Jessie Awards, and sundry film festival awards for his film Crucero/Crossroads.

Marcus Youssef

Marcus Youssef is one of Canada’s best-known contemporary playwrights. His plays have been produced in dozens of theatres in fifteen countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, from Seattle to New York to Reykjavik, London, Hong Kong, and Berlin. He is the recipient of Canada’s largest cultural prize, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, as well as the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, the Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Vancouver Critics’ Innovation Award (three times), and the Canada Council Staunch Lynton Award for Artistic Achievement. Over the years Marcus has also written for a half-dozen shows on CBC Radio and Television and a wide variety of Canadian print and web-based publications, with bylines in the Georgia Straight, Vancouver Magazine, This Magazine, Rice Paper, the Tyee, Vanopolis, and Canadian Theatre Review, among others. Marcus is artistic director of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre and co-founder of the East Vancouver–based, artist-run production studio PL1422. He was the inaugural chair of the City of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council, a Canadian Fellow to the International Society for Performing Arts, and co-chair of the Vancouver political party The Coalition of Progressive Electors. He is currently an editorial advisor to Canadian Theatre Review and a consulting advisor for the National Arts Centre English Theatre. He teaches regularly at the National Theatre School of Canada, Studio 58 Langara College, and the University of British Columbia. See: marcusyoussef.com / neworldtheatre.com / @marcusyoussef.

Reviews

“Razor-sharp timing in a play loaded with controversy … funny and disturbing, all at the same time. It looks at both sides of the terrorism issue, from the point of view of the government and from the point of view of the accused, and both are deeply troubling.”
Globe and Mail

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