Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 14:57 EDT

In Silk Road Rising’s “Re-Spiced,” Asian American Cast Explores the West’s Musical and Literary Interpretations of the East

February 24, 2012

CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Across the country, there is a glaring absence of minority actors, particularly Asian American actors, on American stages. Over the past five theater seasons, Asian American actors were cast in 2 percent of the roles in Broadway and major Off Broadway productions, while 80 percent of the roles went to white performers according to Asian American Performers Action Coalition, an advocacy group.

In contrast to what is observed across the United States, Chicago’s Silk Road Rising is committed to providing Asian American and Middle Eastern American artists with an opportunity to create, interpret, produce, and perform in theatrical productions. This commitment is observed in Silk Road Rising’ upcoming World Premiere production of Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret, devised by Jamil Khoury and directed by Steve Scott, to be performed from April 4 to May 6, 2012.

Inspired by a desire to de-construct language, debunk meanings, and decode messages, Re-Spiced conjures a musical and literary labyrinth of Asian and Middle Eastern images through American and British lenses. With its predominately Asian American cast, Re-Spiced seeks to explore the West’s musical and literary interpretations of the East.

Jamil Khoury, devisor of Re-Spiced, says, “In navigating a lyrical and literary obstacle course I call ‘artistic intent,’ I reviewed hundreds of hours worth of materials ranging from the popular to the obscure, the canonical to the marginal, the ‘sacred’ to the ‘profane.’ The intent of the materials, I discovered, is to define Silk Road peoples as scary, exotic, primitive, sensual, alien, and/or suspect. Re-Spiced is a game changer in that it will take these very same materials and reposition them critically, and in the process create an old school cabaret: entertaining, political, playful, edgy, sexy, and subversive; an evening that will enlighten and delight.”

Director Steve Scott notes, “Looking at the Asian experience as it’s been commented upon and interpreted by non-Asian composers and writers is fascinating, and re-interpreting that material through the sensibilities of a largely Asian American cast is doubly so. Re-Spiced balances the dual imperatives of provoking and pleasing; the material alternately seduces the audience and confronts them with political and social messages.”

To purchase tickets to Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret, visit www.silkroadrising.org or call 312-857-1234 x201.

SOURCE Silk Road Rising

Source: PR Newswire