Hands across the border: the Citadel and a Chicago international new play festival

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Tonight at 6 p.m., Zoom brings us, live, an unusual collaboration, cross-border in both its production and subject matter.

A Distinct Society, by the Canadian-born New York-based playwright/director Kareem Fahmy, who’s of Egyptian extraction, represents Canada at the 11th annual International Voices Project in Chicago — an international new play festival happening in partnership with the Citadel Theatre, the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, and Chicago’s Silk Road Rising. The cast includes three Chicago actors, plus two familiar to Citadel audiences: Nicole St. Martin (last seen at the Citadel in Sweat) and Will Brisbin (Matilda).

The play is set in a library poised on the border between Quebec and Vermont, and involves an Iranian family separated by the “Muslim ban.”

For this enterprise, St. Martin says she interviewed her mother, a Montreal anglophone, about the impact of the FLQ Crisis on life for her and her husband, a francophone. The play, she says, “is a cool piece of writing that explores a contentious part of our history that isn’t much talked about, while relating it to another, current, world crisis.”

After tonight’s performance you can ask St Martin to expand on a subject that doesn’t reach the world stage very often. She’ll be part of the post-performance Q&A along with the playwright.

A Distinct Society is available for streaming through Saturday at ivpchicago.org.

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