Yasmina’s Necklace – a play by Rohina Malik

by | Feb 11, 2017 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

I haven’t written a play review in a while, but this one is worthwhile mentioning, especially in today’s climate.  This play interweaves two Muslim families.  One, where the mother is a latino convert married to an Arab man.  They have a son who prefers to change his name from Abdul Sameer to “Sam” to cover his ethnicity and advance in the American financial world.  The other, an immigrant family Musa and Yasmina from Iraq.  The families are introduced to each other by the Imam Rafi with hopes of bringing Sam and Yasmina together in an arranged marriage.  Sam, a recent divorcee from a caucasian woman has no interest in the match and neither does Yasmina, but their lives intertwine as Sam helps Yasmina in setting up her non-profit organization and so the story goes.
The play produced by Mustard Seed Theatre is running on full houses and the last production will be tomorrow (February 12th).  The acting was spot on by the entire cast.
I was mesmerized.  Parvuna Sulaiman plays Yasmina and when she came on stage with her hijab, I was reminded of a friend of mine, an Iraqi refugee.  The accent was spot on and I was immediately drawn in.  As the story progressed I thought about my friend from Iraq and I thought about life and the refugee life and the story transported me.
There were some other great performances.  Amor Salama plays Musa, Yasmina’s loving father.  He’s a dentist from Iraq but has to take on other jobs as his degree is not accepted here in the United States.  It was a pleasure watching his relationship with his daughter.
The entire family of Ali, Sara and Sam played by Chuck Winning, Maritza Motta Gonzalez and Adam Flores respectively was charming to watch in their conflicts and situational comedies.
Jaime Zayas as Imam Rafi provided the excellent comic relief as only an Imam can and Ethan Joel Isaac playing Amir delivered the final punch with tremendous precision that one is brought to tears in realizing what a human really wants.
Director Deanna Jent showed a lot of class and strength in bringing this beautiful piece to the stage and honoring our collective humanity.  All tech aspects of lights and sounds worked beautifully.
I would love to sit with playwright Rohina Malik and perhaps pick her brain a little.  That will have to wait for another day, if I get the opportunity.
For now, I cannot say enough about this play.  I’m so glad I went to see it.  For those of you in St. Louis who are reading this blog and have not had the chance to watch this fabulous play, it is unfortunate. However it’s not unfortunate for Mustard Seed Theatre as they have sold out consistently and for good reason.
I must also add that this play reminded me of a post I had made earlier in 2015 called “A conversation with an Iraqi woman.”  For those of you who have watched this play and are reading this post, I would recommend you read that one too (if you haven’t already).  I will share the link here again.
I will leave here.
Best wishes to you all,


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