port of harlem magazine
 
Mosaic Theater
 
Mosaic Theater Delivers the Unexpected with Musa and Sheri
 
January 30 – February 12, 2020
 
Entertainment

Sanam L. Hashemi



I am glad that I did not read the details of Mosaic Theater’s “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World,”  before seeing the unique story about love and expectations. It is being billed as a “romantic comedy,” but as such, it did not meet my expectations.  Instead, “Pilgrims,” exceeded my expectations by being complex and loaded with the unexpected.

Yes, there is romance between a non-stereotypical Egyptian American and an American woman that some would call adventurous and others would call a pure slut. The staged exploration is part of Mosaic’s long-running “Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.” However, I could not imagine a Middle Eastern theater or even one in majority Muslim Gambia embracing this play.

The play “brings an irreverent humor and no-holds-barred honesty into a shimmering lover story about a cross-cultural relationship. I love how (playwrite) Yussef El Guinidi creates human, flawed, and totally relatable characters to populate the world he conjures:  we do not like everything that Musa and Sheri do by a long shot, but we understand them,” reasoned director Shirley Serotsky.

While the entire cast is wonderful, Sanam L. Hashemi, as the more adherent Gamila, totally fills the emotional and dramatic vessel that the Egyptian-born, British-raised playwright created. Gamila becomes a part of the play during the middle of the first half of the “comedy,” as my honeymoon with the introduction to the story was about to end.

Surprisingly, the ending was much less dramatic. And, in a daring move El Guinidi did not tie everything so neatly so we can walk away and go to sleep. Instead, he exceeded my expectations by sharing enough of the world he conjured to know that life will continue with the unexpected around the corner.


Sanam L. Hashemi, as the more adherent Gamila, totally fills the emotional and dramatic vessel that the Egyptian-born, British-raised playwright created.

Free Post-Performance Discussion

Jan 30, 8p
Intersectional Identity: Examining Power and Privilege
Sat, Feb 1, 3p
Shifting Female Identities in the West and the Middle East
Sun, Feb 2, 3p
The Sacred and the Profane: A Feminist Perspective
Thu, Feb 6, 8p
Immigration Then & Now: Narrative and Policy Implications
Sat, Feb 8, 3p
The Pilgrimage: Hajj and The Journey
Sun, Feb 9,3p
Islam and the West: Personal and Political Perspectives
Thu, Feb 13, 11a
Cast Talk Back
Thu, Feb 13, 8p
The Baggage We Carry: Unpacking Our History
Sat, Feb 15, 3p
Forging Identity: Roots or Branches?

 
 
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