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A ‘Disgraced’ Library of Resources


Disgraced, which plays the Mark Taper Forum June 8 – July 17, 2016, touches on a wide range of topics, from the effects of Islamic extremism on Muslim Americans and the appropriation of Islamic traditions in Western art to identity, faith, and what it means to live the American dream. With assistance from the Goodman Theatre and Berkeley Rep, we have curated a list of resources that allow theatregoers to continue exploring the complex world of Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.

Ayad Akhtar
Peruse the playwright’s official website, which contains up-to-date information on upcoming productions, his body of work, and relevant events.
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Theatre Communications Group: A conversation with Ayad Akhtar and Gabriel Greene
Disgraced may be Akhtar’s best-known play, but it is only part of his larger cycle of work which spans novels, screenplays, and (at least) two other plays. In 2013, Akhtar spoke to Theatre Communications Group about the origins of Disgraced, as well as that of his other plays (The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand) and his novel (American Dervish).
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From the Headlines to the Footlights: The Enduring, Worldwide Relevancy of Ayad Akhtar’s "Disgraced"
In September 2015, American Theatre magazine named Disgraced the most produced play in America—and its relevance has only continued to grow. In the Goodman Theatre blog, Akhtar and the cast of the Goodman’s 2015 production discuss the play’s enduring legacy as a conversation starter.
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Velázquez’s “Portrait of Juan de Paraja”
Diego Velázquez’s famous portrait of his assistant is a major inspiration for Emily, a character in Disgraced who is a contemporary painter. “The Portrait of Juan de Paraja” is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Their online catalog allows anyone to view the painting, learn more about its origin, and explore essays on Velázquez and his work.
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10 of Velázquez’s most famous paintings
The Goodman created a list of some of Velázquez’s most famous works. These provide an easy introduction to the aesthetic that so inspires Emily.
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Geometric Patterns in Islamic Art
Emily draws much of the inspiration for her work from traditions she observes in Islamic art. These traditions—she argues—have been largely overlooked by art historians because of their origins outside the Western world. This blog post from the Metropolitan Museum of Art provides both context and examples of this work from their own collections.
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"The Imam’s Curse"
In Disgraced, Amir, a character who works as an attorney at a Manhattan law firm, consults on a criminal case in which a Muslim religious leader (Imam Fareed) has been accused of funneling money to a terrorist organization through his mosque. In September 2015, The New Yorker covered a case in which a Pakistani American family faced similar charges from the U.S. government.
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"Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston"
When the second bomb exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, Haider Javed Warraich was across the street. He wrote this op-ed for the New York Times the day after the bombing, candidly wondering if he should start telling people that he was born in India rather than his native Pakistan.
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Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project
The UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project is a database of articles, political cartoons, videos, photos, and other resources on the subject of Islamophobia in America and abroad.
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'The Center Theatre Group Podcast': “Ayad Akhtar and Kimberly Senior In Conversation”
Ayad Akhtar and Director Kimberly Senior talk about the genesis of Disgraced, its subsequent popularity, and our Mark Taper Forum production in this podcast from Center Theatre Group.
Zahra Noorbakhsh and Tanzila Ahmed make up the two halves of the #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcasts—a frank and hilarious look at what it’s like to be a modern Muslim American woman.
'On Being': "Reza Aslan—Islam’s Reformation"
Scholar and author Dr. Reza Aslan discusses his own religious history and offers historical context for modern religions, with a particular focus on Islam. On Being, which is hosted by Krista Tippet, is an intimate look at religion and spirituality as a subject of discussion, interrogation, and interest.


'Disgraced' Does Not Apologize
On the Center Theatre Group Podcast, director Kimberly Senior and Ayad Akhtar discussed their pride in the play—despite the fact that it can be difficult for audiences to experience. And in an article by Akhtar excerpted here, he explains why he created the polarizing character of Amir.
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