Palomar Theatre Explores Muslim Identity in ‘Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith’

San Marcos, CA (March 2, 2017) – Palomar College theatre presents Yussef El Guindi’s Muslim family dramedy Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith March 17 – 26 in the Howard Brubeck Theatre on the San Marcos campus at 1140 West Mission Road.

Written in 2005, Leap of Faith follows the Fawzis, a well-established Arab-American family, over the course of two eventful days, as their college-age children suddenly reveal the contradictions of their dueling identities.  The conflicts lead to deeply compassionate, and often comical exploration of the Muslim faith in the context of American culture.  Although many elements are particular to the Muslim experience, the play ultimately affirms a commonality with the great American family story.

In his author’s statement El Guindi says, “It’s a little troubling when depicting an ordinary Arab-American Muslim family, going about their ordinary day, getting involved in regular family mishaps and melodramas, seems like such a radical thing to do. In writing this play and trying to sidestep the stereotypes that attend Arabs and Muslims, and to simply present these characters as regular folk – not as wife-beating, bomb-strapping, terrorist inclined fanatics with a thing for barring little girls from school and enjoying a good mob scene that ends in many deaths – I didn’t quite realize how unexpected that would seem to an audience.”

Leap of Faith follows the tradition of American Family plays. The conservative father is rattled by the cultural changes influencing his children’s behavior.  One son announces that he no longer believes in the family religion.  The daughter is struggling to interpret troubling dreams about wearing the hijab and the third son is awakening to his sexual orientation.  In the face of these crises, the strong mother holds the family together with wisdom and compassion.  Along the way, however, we encounter profound and beautiful insight about the nature of God, religion and family.

Director Michael Mufson describes his goal for the production, “In the process of making theatre, we build a bridge from the boundaries of our individual experiences to the world that the playwright gives us.  Yussef El Guindi invites a multicultural ensemble to explore and discover the world of a Muslim-American family as they encounter the pitfalls of maintaining these two, sometimes conflicting, identities and to extend a bridge of understanding to our audience and our community.”

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.palomarperforms.com or in person at the box office on the San Marcos campus.

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Media Contacts:

Melinda Finn, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365, mfinn@palomar.edu
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2152, lgropen@palomar.edu
Michael Mufson, Professor and Director, Performing Arts, 760-716-7098, mmufson@palomar.edu , www.palomarperforms.com