Monday, 29 May 2017

Mimi's Suitcase: Ana Bayat @ Edfringe 2017

Award-winning multi-lingual show to play this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe 


Mimi’s Suitcase is a universal coming-of-age story of resilience and humanity. Raw, authentic, relevant and vibrant, the story centres on questions of identity in Iran, Spain and England with nothing but the titular suitcase, a raincoat and a scarf. A tour-de-force performed in three languages with English surtitles.

After premiering in New York in 2015, Mimi's Suitcase has been performed all around the world, winning the Audience Choice Award for Best Play at Kulturverein Boje Theatre Festival in Heidelberg in 2016 and performing a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Iranian Festival earlier this year.

Upcoming Schedule:

August 4, (5:30 PM)
August 5, 8, 9, 11, 12 (9:30 PM)  

August 14-19, (8:30 PM)
August 21-26, (6:30 PM)  

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Since Mimi’s Suitcase is an autobiographical piece, I believe the passage of time allowed me to finally have enough distance between me and the events to be ready to write about it. The inspiration was my gradual and ultimate realization that we have more in common than we realize and that a universal story of displacement and human resilience would be
the best way to highlight our shared human condition.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Yes, I do think performance, storytelling, and the arts in general, are a fantastic way to see, experience and realize ideas; states of being that would otherwise take longer to realize. What better way to increase empathy for our fellow humans than to realize through performance that many such experiences are universal?

How did you become interested in making performance?

Following in my father’s footsteps ­-who was a classically-trained actor in the 60s in Iran, I too trained in the Stanislavsky system before completing another conservatory training at Birmingham School of Speech and Drama in England. 

Ever since I was a teenager, theatre has been my raison d’être and my strongest medium to communicate.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Yes, I wanted it to be a play even though in many aspects it qualifies as a solo show because there is only one actor playing 27 characters in 4 languages.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
This is an innovative style of play acting. I wanted to create something unique that either has never or rarely been done before.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
A shared humanity despite apparent differences and that Mimi’s Suitcase in a way is the story of all of us. Even if you have not lived it personally, speaking with your grandparents of even distant relatives might shed light on the fact that someone related to you at some point had to move and leave behind what can’t be regained with the passage of time.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Surtitles when speaking languages other than English. Use of audio-visuals. A fast tempo-rhythm. Universal characters.

About Ana:

Ana is an Iranian-born, Spanish-bred, French and English-educated
multilingual theatre, film, voice-over actress and linguist based in San Francisco, California. She holds a B.A. Honours in Linguistics, an M.A. in Film and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Acting from Birmingham School of Acting. Ana will next be seen in the soon-to-be-released feature film Waiting for Kiarostami

Artist Statement:

In writing this personal, historically-influenced and still highly relevant story, it is my heartfelt mission to bring us all together in the realization that we have more in common than what seemingly sets us apart.

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