WE'VE COME UNDONE
A One-Woman Show Written and Performed by Kayhan Irani
We've Come Undone is a series of moving monologues inspired by stories from the Arab, Muslim, American and South Asian communities. From a young girls' bewilderment at her father's disappearance, to an INS agent's rant and a Sikh woman's humorous conversation with an arsonist, the characters' truths aim to enlighten, activate and inspire.
We've Come Undone offers an invaluable collection of insights and perspectives for any American seeking to survive and combat the culture of fear and asks the questions: what happens when deception and distrust are allowed to permeate the fabric of our society and embed into the weave? How does that affect our behavior and who we become, individually, as a society, and a nation?
Through the use of various participatory theater techniques, volunteers from the audience are invited onstage into an organic, improvised, transformative experience, where they are able to learn more about themselves, each other, and the world they belong to.
Performed from 2003 – 2007 across North America and in Pakistan.
The artist's statement below is from my first full performance of We've Come Undone in June, 2003. I have reproduced it, word for word, because its relevance today. Nevertheless, much is changing for the better. I have no doubt that with more artivism we can continue to inject passion and hope into our world.
"After 9/11..." how many times has that phrase been used, or over-used, in America in the last few years? However, it is a statement in itself. How our lives look after 9/11 is still up for grabs and it seems like powerful forces are grabbing for control of the brush that will paint our present and future, as well as our past. We as individuals are still rummaging through the heaps of our notions tentatively, carefully, as we understand where the events of 9/11, the recent war, and the rapidly changing domestic and international policies of the United States have landed us. "We've Come Undone" explores how we relate and struggle to relate to one another now. What happens when lie and suspicion are allowed to permeate the fabric of our society and embed into the weave? "We've Come Undone" seeks to gather those loose ends and re-introduce them into the cultural dialogue through theater.
Perhaps it is the United States and her inhabitants that have been shocked and awed; our designs of comfort crumpled, plans unmade, purpose lost. But a few of us can see a window, a powerful portal that has cut through the layers of illusion to expose an unsettling reality. For those who can bear the sight, it can be gruesome, troubling, saddening and hurtful but myriad truths may be found in the hall of mirrors we are now negotiating. I believe we are struggling to map out our new place in the universe and to trace the path that led us here. We must remember that we have not yet reached our destination, we are still on the path, out futures have not been told, and we are still able to shape them into our dreams.
I hope you enjoy the show and can escape back into reality.
Chashama Theater, New York
SALAAM Theater, New York
Theater for the New City, New York
Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York
State University of New York: New Paltz
City University of New York: Medgar Evers College - Film and Culture Series
City University of New York: Center for Worker Education
City University of New York: Queens College
City University of New York: Graduate Center
Columbia University Teacher's College, New York
Vassar College, New York
Suffolk Law School, Boston
Bowdoin College, Maine
Rutgers University, New Jersey
Princeton University, New Jersey
De Paul University, Chicago
University of Illinois, Chicago
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Single File Festival, Chicago
Burning Man Festival, Nevada
Infringement Festival, Montreal, Canada
Getting our Act Together: Performance Conference, U. Mass, Amherst
Feminist and Scholar Conference, Gender and Immigration, Barnard College
American Friends Service Committee, Washington, D.C
Hunterdon Diversity Council, New Jersey
CODEPINK International Women's Day Celebration, Washington, D.C.
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Washington, D.C.
South Asian Bar Association, Washington, D.C.
AFSC Immigrants United Celebration, New York
And many more ...