The Double V – Discover Hollywood Review by Harrison Held

The Double V is an excellent new play written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff and directed by Michael Arabian now playing at The Matrix Theatre on Melrose. The production is based on a true story that changed the course of history and the accomplished cast is great as is the beautifully designed set too. Kudos to the super cast featuring Nicholas (Nic) Few, Brie Eley, Preston Butler lll, Terra Strong Lyons, Cary Thompson, Jamal Henderson, John Apicella and Joe Coffey.  

The Double V takes place during World War 11.  An angry young black man not allowed to join the military   writes a profound letter to The Pittsburgh Recorder which is read by an ambitious young black female reporter leading to America’s first black civil rights movement.  The Double V is a very moving play that tackles an embarrassing era in America.  It entertains and teaches and really opens our eyes to the rampant discrimination of that time.   The classy well-paced 2 act play is produced by award winning producer Leigh Fortier.

I highly recommend this play to all and think it would make a great field trip for students as well.
The Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Boulevard a few blocks east of Fairfax Avenue.  For reservations call 323 960 7776 or visit www.onstage411.com/doublev

Kudos to stage manager Pam Noles, scenic designer  John Iacovelli, costume designer Dana Rebecca Woods and hair/make up designer Byron Batista, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, sound designer Christopher Moscatiello, video projection designer Fritz Davis and prop masters David  Saewert and Michael Allen Angel and casting director Jami Rudofsky on their period perfect work.  HH

By Harrison Held

(images —  top image: Nic Few; center: Preston Butler III & Terra Strong; bottom: Jamal Henderson)

The Double V – review by Eric A. Gordon: People’s World

The Double V (review excerpt)

As a card-carrying historian, I had known the meaning of the term “the Double V” for decades. But I did not know much about how it came to be. This play explains it all—and better, dramatizes it with wholly believable characters and imagined scenes.

In the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress declared war on the Axis powers. Almost overnight, America went into full wartime mobilization. As a long-simmering remnant of slavery, Jim Crow racism seemed such an inevitable and ineradicable piece of the American fabric, that its continuance during the war crisis did not even appear to be problematic. This was a “white man’s war.” As elsewhere in society, no Negroes need apply. Young Black men eager to serve their country were turned down at enlistment stations.

Enter James G. Thompson (Preston Butler, III), a 26-year-old Black man from Wichita, Ks., who, according to the play, with a little help from his girlfriend penned a letter to the Pittsburgh Courier, a Black newspaper, on January 31, 1942. In it, he asked a number of pertinent questions:

“Should I sacrifice my life to live half American? Will things be better for the next generation in the peace to follow? Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship rights in exchange for the sacrificing of my life?

“Is the kind of America I know worth defending? Will America be a true and pure democracy after this war? Will colored Americans suffer still the indignities that have been heaped upon them in the past?”

Thompson went on to propose an answer to these questions:

“The ‘V for Victory’ sign is being displayed prominently in all so-called democratic countries which are fighting for victory over aggression, slavery and tyranny. If this V sign means that to those now engaged in this great conflict then let colored Americans adopt the double VV for a double victory—The first V for victory over our enemies from without, the second V for victory over our enemies within.”

And so was ignited a great new phase of the ongoing Black civil rights movement.

The Pittsburgh Courier played this idea up big, urging other Black media across the country to pick it up. Players in baseball’s Negro League sported the VV insignia on their uniforms. Leaders in the Black community instinctively recognized that World War II military service, with its honors, sacrifices, glory, and benefits, would contribute significantly to a renewed commitment to equality that had been stalled ever since the end of Reconstruction.

It was not all smooth sailing, however. Reactionary forces also saw the potential for uplift to the Black American cause and exerted themselves mightily to halt it. A couple of short but powerful scenes take place when the crusading editor Ira Lewis (Nic Few) is paid a visit by FBI agent William Taylor (John Apicella) who, under authority of J. Edgar Hoover, threatens severe punishment under the War Powers Act for disseminating divisive stories meant to break American unity around the war.

Though Thompson wrote the letter from which the Double V campaign grew, it’s Ira Lewis and his girlfriend, cub reporter Madge Evans (Brie Eley), who anchor the drama. Other characters are Thompson’s girlfriend/later fiancée Annie Culver (Terra Strong Lyons) and his father Clem (Cary Thompson), who also plays a Courier staff member.

Jamal Henderson plays a couple of smaller roles, and Joe Coffey plays the appropriately named Charlie Simpson, plant foreman where Jimmy works and an unabashed out-and-out racist and likely a Klansman.

The scenes alternate between Pittsburgh and Wichita.

Although there are only two roles for women in the play, they are strong ones. The playwright has a gift for expressing how personal plans and dreams must necessarily be put on hold until the war is over, underlining how no one’s life went untouched by the mobilization. She also folds in the picture of discrimination against Black Americans on the job and within the unions.

Before too long, the U.S. government and military came to its senses and started allowing Blacks into the service. A demand that arose in the course of the campaign not only for admission but for proportional representation, i.e., about 10%, was never met as such, although the playwright claims it was in the WACS. Nevertheless, over a million Black Americans did serve, including over 6000 Black women, and that led to greater benefits in the years to come.

It’s not specifically stated in the play, but the military probably believed it would use Black soldiers for the duration, and all would return to “normal” after the war. In many places it did—which Black servicemen certainly noticed when they returned in uniform to their home states in the South. The Double V campaign set the stage for Truman’s 1948 order to fully integrate the armed services, and for the greater civil rights victories to come in the 1950s and 60s.

Speaking of setting the stage, John Iacovelli’s scenic design is spot-on. The audience feels right in the middle of the action, inside the Thompson home, the Pittsburgh Courier office, and a Cessna airplane factory. Jared A. Sayeg provides a well thought-out lighting design, and Dana Rebecca Woods provides authentic period costuming. Projections by Fritz Davis update us on the progress of the war, accompanied by the music preparation and sound design by Christopher Moscatiello.

The playwright herself is a figure of some interest. Carole Eglash-Kosoff previously wrote the multi-award-winning play When Jazz Had the Blues. She has also published five books and wrote and directed an award-winning short documentary. In 2006, she traveled to South Africa to teach in the black townships; from that experience emerged her book, The Human Spirit–Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes, which was later produced as a play. Her historical fiction novel When Stars Align dealt with the love of a mixed-race boy and a white girl in the turbulent era after the Civil War, and a follow-up novel, Winds of Change, continued that saga.

In an ideal world, The Double V would be produced by regional theatre companies and high school and college theatre programs all over the country as a staple in the American dramatic canon. It needs to be seen. – Eric A. Gordon

The Double V plays at Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles 90046, through Sun., Nov. 24. Performances are on Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., and Sun. at 3 p.m. With one intermission, it runs 100 minutes. Tickets and further information can be had at (323) 960-7776 or at this website.

The Double V

Nic Few and Brie Eley in ‘The Double V’ / Ed Krieger

THE DOUBLE V

Activism that altered the color of a nation

A stage play by Carole Eglash-Kosoff

This is a play about activism, a dramatization of true events.  How a simple letter to a newspaper initiated a series of changes that gave black Americans their first taste of equality in a society that had always denigrated them. The Double V campaign, early in the years of World War II, campaigned for both Victory in the war and Victory in the battles for racial equality in the United States.

Early in 1942, a young Negro tries to enlist in the Army.  He’s beaten and told that this is a ‘white man’s war’.  It’s his first experience with racism.  Frustrated, he write’s a letter to the Pittsburgh-Courier, one of the largest black newspapers in the country. “There shouldn’t be two Americas, one white and one black, Why should Negroes die for a country that treats them like 2d Class citizens?”

The country is gearing up for war but there are only 5,000 Negroes serving, most in units left over from the Civil War.  The services are segregated.  The paper picks up the Double V as a way to get coloreds into the war.  They champion ‘Proportional Representation’…if there are 100 whites, there need to be 10 Negroes, since Negroes represent 10% of the population.

As the campaign progresses and our military continues to face heavy losses both in North Africa and the Pacific, the FBI enters the picture, demanding that the newspaper cease its campaign as being divisive.  The paper is told the government needs a singular focus and the Double V campaign for racial equality detracts from that mission.  Frustrations build, anger flares.

In late 1942 the government reverses its policy and opens both the Army and Navy to enlistments to all races.  By the end of the war more than one million Negro men and women had been in uniform.

Epilogue:  We tell the audience at the end of the play that these men and women came home from the war expecting some degree of racial equality for having given their lives in the service of their country.  When it failed to appear, it led to sit-ins, freedom riders and the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

Reviews FOR THE DOUBLE V

“It needs to be seen” Eric A. Gordon – People’s World (click for full review)

An excellent new play based on a true story that changed the course of history…  Great talent on the stage & a beautifully designed one too” – Harrison Held – Discover Hollywood (click for full review)

“It’s a stunning piece of historical drama, with a lot of love and humor and its own victorious conclusion.” Samantha Simmonds – Ronceros NOHO Arts District 

“Beautifully staged with exquisite set designs and ingenious direction, “The Double V” is a must-see play, full of excellent actors putting their hearts into every word and their souls into every scene.  I cannot recommend this play enough…Bravo!!” – Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros – NOHO Arts District 

“The Double V is a testament of how courageous African Americans had to be in order to fight, work tirelessly and risk their lives to be heard and taken seriously.  If history threatens to repeat itself, God forbid, let the Double V be the shining example to follow when things get rough and hard.” Mary E. Montoro http://www.allaboutthestage.com

The play’s reach is far, and holds plenty of uplifting intentions. The war may become long over with as well as becoming victorious, but the efforts for racial equality has yet to be won. It’s another “V” to go!” – Rich Borowy Accessibly Live Offline

Audience Reviews:

We saw “The Double V”, and it was relevant, interesting and has superb acting.  ….We highly recommend this thoughtful, well written performance.  
The author, playwright Carole Eglash-Kosoff, pulled no punches in showing the sorry attitude of the people and the Leaders of the government from the top down in 1941, with the Negros getting screwed again, and not allowed to join the Army (etc.) and fight for our, and their country
.”  

Bruce C. YELP

The Double V” is an absolutely amazing true story about our nation’s first black civil rights movement!   I was very moved by this production.  
Carole Eglash-Kosoff has written this production and an award is sure to follow.   You must experience this and together we can overcome racism.
” – Rick A – YELP

Disgraced

Disgraced is a 2012 play by novelist and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar. The play, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is centered on sociopolitical themes such as islamophobia and the self-identity of Muslim-American citizens. It focuses on a dinner party between four people with very different backgrounds. As discussion turns to politics and religion, the mood quickly becomes heated. Described as a “combustible powder keg of identity politics,” the play depicts racial and ethnic prejudices that “secretly persist in even the most progressive cultural circles.” It is also said to depict the challenge for upwardly mobile Muslim Americans in the post 9/11 America. Director Michael Arabian debuts his production at the San Diego Rep in October 2016.

Excerpt from The San Diego Tribune:

At the center of it all is Amir Kapoor (Ronobir Lahiri), a top New York lawyer whose level of success finds expression in his $600 dress shirts and the elegant penthouse he shares with his artist wife, Emily (Allison Spratt Pearce). (The place is designed to the nines by John Iacovelli.)

But there’s a deep irony (and growing source of division) at the heart of their relationship: While Amir has utterly rejected the Muslim identity of his South Asian family, calling himself a proud apostate, the WASP-y Emily embraces Islamic aesthetics and ideals in her painting.

Monique Gaffney, Ronobir Lahiri, Allison Spratt Pearce and Richard Baird (from left) in “Disgraced.” (Daren Scott)

The couple’s carefully constructed world begins to wobble on its axis when Amir, at the prodding of Emily and his own nephew, Abe (a devoted Muslim played by M. Keala Milles Jr.), appears at a court hearing for a jailed Muslim cleric.

Amir winds up being quoted in the New York Times, and is already beginning to face blowback at his predominantly Jewish law firm by the time the Kapoors sit down for a very consequential dinner party with Isaac, a Jewish curator who has championed Emily’s art, and Jory (Monique Gaffney), Isaac’s African-American wife and Amir’s work colleague.

Director Michael Arabian, previously at the Rep with “Red,” has a sure feel for calibrating the detonations to come, and his cast (which in some cases seemed a little tentative in early scenes on opening night) proves adept at tuning into the play’s intensity as it ratchets up toward the final act.

Occasionally, the startling words Akhtar puts in his characters’ mouths on the topics of religion and ethnicity can feel, if not forced, at least a little unlikely. But the playwright has a masterful way of weaving surprises into the dialogue and steering clear of cliche.

(Brian Gale’s lighting and Kevin Anthenill’s sound design inject an emotional charge, and Anastasia Pautova’s costumes are eye-catchingly savvy.)

Allison Spratt Pearce and Ronobir Lahiri in “Disgraced.” (Daren Scott )

Lahiri, a Broadway-seasoned actor who also happens to be a top sitar player and composer, finds affecting depths in the proud, brooding Amir; even in quiet moments you can sense the conflicts roiling within this man who has tried so hard to erase any trace of his heritage.

Pearce, a top San Diego-based actor with multiple Broadway credits, conveys a deep sense of warmth and open-mindedness as Emily, whose most prized painting subject is her husband.

Gaffney, another San Diego acting ace, is also in top form here as the self-assured Jory, who early on shares an easy kinship with Amir over their status as underdogs.

And two more accomplished locals — New Fortune Theatre co-founder Baird, as the provocative (and easily provoked) Isaac, and Milles, as the fervent but sympathetic Abe — bring sharply defined portrayals to this combustible mix.

And combust it does — in ways that may leave you thinking for days about unspoken (and unbidden) assumptions and prejudices just waiting for the right spark to ignite.

Twitter: @jimhebert

jim.hebert@sduniontribune.com

Additional articles:

The Times of San Diego
San Diego LGBT News
San Diego Reader

Tesla: A Radio Play For The Stage

May 19, 2017 Laguna Beach, CA

LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE announces 
HAL LINDEN has joined GREGORY HARRISON, 
DAN LAURIA, CHARLES SHAUGHNESSY, 
FRENCH STEWART & VANESSA STEWART starring in 
TESLA:
A RADIO PLAY FOR THE STAGE
Written by Dan Duling
Directed by Michael Arabian
 Four Performances Only!  May 26 – 28 
 at Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach! 

Laguna Playhouse is thrilled to announce that acclaimed actor Hal Linden (replacing the previously announced Bruce Davison) has been added to its very special theatrical event also starring Gregory Harrison, Dan Lauria, Charles Shaughnessy, French Stewart & Vanessa Stewart in TESLA: A RADIO PLAY FOR THE STAGE, written by Dan Duling and directed by Michael Arabian. “We are thrilled to be adding Hal Linden to this starry cast and delighted to offer an extra special event for our audiences of a very timely play,” comments Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard.  Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham “We could not be more thrilled than to present Dan Duling’s play with director Michael Arabian (Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks) taking the helm. This radio play about the life of inventor Nikola Tesla, with 6 stellar actors and 1 sound effects specialist playing, combined, over 50 roles is not-to-be-missed!”  TESLA: A RADIO PLAY FOR THE STAGE will perform four performances only on Friday, May 26 at 7:30pm; Saturday, May 27 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm & Sunday, May 28 at 1:00pm at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

100 Aprils

ONE ARMENIAN, ONE TURK, ONE ROOM –
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

“Your blondness has not served you the way we had hoped,” says a woman to her daughter, as a husband and father is dying of heart failure in a hospital bed. The line perfectly captures the old world and the new in a loaded barb that has no possible reply. It is absurdist yet emotionally revealing. I gasped a little when I heard it, in pleasure at the writing, but also with a bit of revulsion, as its ugliness landed on the blonde daughter. This is something she has likely heard before. It has the power still to wound but is not a surprise attack.

We are in a hospital room in 100 Aprils, the Rogue Machine’s world premiere at the Met Theatre. It is 1982. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 looms large in the mind of John as he dies, powering fevered dreams that turn his doctor of Turkish descent into a soldier, lurking menacingly as he denies the monstrous event that perhaps defined John’s life. It is certainly defining his death. John is a doctor himself, and an addict, in withdrawal from self-administered Demerol. His lungs are filling with fluid. There will be no recovery.

John cries out for his shot, but his wife, Beatrice, is clipped and unemotional. “There will be no more shots, John,” she says, closing the matter for discussion. He has a long history of forged prescriptions, stolen syringes, and trips to rehab. “I brought you a packet of Crystal Light,” she says, as if that is all she has left to give. She is bored by his confusion and exhausted from the effort of caring. It all seems distasteful to her — John’s torment, her daughter’s incompetence and emotionalism, and she seems uninterested in joining John in his outrage over the genocide. She has heard it all before.

Their daughter, Arlene, is a librarian who seems to believe she can tidy her father back into health. She washes pajamas, wipes up spills, and tries to escape the hospital room every chance she gets. She knits small squares in the waiting room. “A quilt for a mouse or a bug.” She has a child’s steadfast belief that her father might get better. His condescension toward her doesn’t feel as personal as her mother’s (John is condescending to everyone) but it makes her anxious. There must be something she can do. There is nothing.

John’s consciousness goes in and out of reality. At first, it seems his hallucinations are his alone, but then Beatrice shows up in one — or does she? She has a letter opener at the Turkish soldier’s throat. Is it John’s fantasy or hers? For that matter, is it a fantasy at all? It emerges that her connection to family history is every bit as strong as John’s. They remember the same cast of characters, the same jokes. The mother from the old country with the skin of an elephant and the eyes of a bear; the shoemaker father forced to go barefoot as he repairs the boots of Turkish soldiers; the suffering of all the dead ancestors.

Bitter and helpless, John attacks all Turks, including his doctor, for denying the genocide. “I see Turkish soldiers in the woods setting Armenian girls on fire!” “We Turks are used to Armenian lies,” the doctor (or is it the soldier?) sneers. “You bully us with your sorrow.” Beatrice and Arlene keep the doctor from administering the final dose of morphine that will allow John to die without pain. Suddenly they give John’s fury physical form, shocking us and themselves with their bottled-up passion

I love playwright Leslie Ayvazian’s use of language. She has many tart observations. John is “a dying man, not allowing himself to die, because he never allowed himself to live.” The doctor refers to Beatrice and Arlene as advocates. “At one time,” he says, “They were just called visitors. Times change.” And she gets at something I haven’t seen explored before, how even the righteous can become bored by their own tragedies. Someone must pay. Who? The Turks. Why? To provide “closure?” If they admitted all, would that ease the sense of loss or provide comfort to the grieving? Who are the survivors grieving anyway? Their loved ones or themselves? Victimhood as a community’s defining characteristic is a dead end. I think Ayvazian sees that, even as she commits to drawing attention to the suffering. The tragedy of John’s death has everything and nothing to do with being a child of genocide.

I feel that about my own communities — gay, Jewish, Latino — when we define our forebears as martyrs, we risk taking away their very humanity. The “right” way to balance respect for past horror with the pragmatism of moving on is often elusive and leaves one open to resentment for being alive.

Rogue Machine founding artistic director John Perrin Flynn is believable and touching as John, approaching the role with a simple, deep commitment. As Beatrice, the playwright does a memorable double act. Leslie Ayvazian speaks with droll, deadpan precision and moves with an insouciance worthy of Lauren Bacall. Her performance is a triumph.

Rachel Sorsa gives the bruised and flustered Arlene a poignance that serves the play well. I could do without her determined clomping on and off stage though. It only calls attention to the structural problem of creating scenes for two characters to be alone. Robertson Dean plays the doctor/soldier role of Ahmet with understated elegance and Janet Song makes the small role of a nurse into a small gem.Michael Arabian gets the style of the piece exactly right. Memories may be literal, but also flexible, hazy, and haphazard. There is a purposely tedious joke that is referred to a couple of times before becoming a rather touching end piece. It involves anthropomorphic pots and has a punch line that is apparently uproarious if you are from the Old Country, and impenetrable if you are not. Humor can be generational and culturally specific. Just like pain.

CLICK HERE FOR REVIEWS

100 Aprils: Reviews

Armenian genocide fuels Rogue Machine’s ‘100 Aprils’

LA TIMES:

The lies that have increasingly flowed into our post-truth era are terrifying stuff, to be sure. Arguably as painful are the omissions of fact — those stubborn denials of the undeniable that echo through the generations.

The refusal of the Turkish government to acknowledge the Armenian genocide of a century ago is the theme fueling Leslie Ayvazian’s play “100 Aprils,” a Rogue Machine production premiering at the MET Theatre.

Director, Michael Arabian approaches his material with his typical assurance in a well-paced, well-acted staging!
By F. Kathleen FoleyJun 22, 2018 | 6:00 AM 

“TOP TEN” Stage Raw  

RECOMMENDED:“Delivers a wry humor in spite of its broad tragic backdrop as it pursues its expression of what happens when people’s sense of justice is denied”

Reviewed by Deborah Klugman
Rogue Machine at The MET Theatre
Through July 16LA Splash:

“A powerful, intimate look at the effects of violence on a people….100 APRILS raises many issues worthy of serious discussion. 

Playwright Leslie Ayvazian’s 100 APRILS premieres in 2018 at Rogue Machine, just three years after the centennial commemoration of the Armenian genocide. First presented as a staged reading by Center Theatre Group and the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in April 2015, directed by Michael Arabian.  Here again, Arabian, has done a superb job!  

100 APRILS has been polished into a powerful, intimate look at the effects of violence on a people – even 100 years after the fact. When Adolph Hitler in 1939 asked who currently spoke about the extermination of the Armenians, he inadvertently opened a discussion about a denied history which was supposed to be gently dismissed from memory. And yet 2018 marks an anniversary about events which will never be over and done with for the people who survived or those they touched in life.

Stage and Cinema:
“I love playwright Leslie Ayvazian’s use of language. Michael Arabian (Director) gets the style of the piece exactly right…she gets at something I haven’t seen explored before”Stage and CinemaTheater Review: 100 APRILS (Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles)

Aeschylus’s THE SUPPLIANT WOMEN (ΙΚΕΤΙΔΕΣ)

Firenze, installazione scarpe rosse in Palazzo Medici Riccardi contro a violenza sulle donne 2013-03-21 © Majlend Bramo/Massimo Sestini

The Getty Villa (Villa Theater Lab) and Rogue Machine Theatre Presents:

Aeschylus’s
THE SUPPLIANT WOMEN
ΙΚΕΤΙΔΕΣ

Translated by George Theodoridis

Directed by Michael Arabian
Produced by Michael Arabian, Joshua Bitton, and John Perrin Flynn

Date: Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 3:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
Admission: Tickets: $7. Call (310) 440-7300 or click here.

Aeschylus’s The Suppliant Women, one of the oldest extant dramas from ancient Greece, is the first play and only surviving full text of the lost Danaid Tetralogy. The tetralogy was inspired by the myth of Io and her two warring sons, Aegyptus and Danaos. After Aegyptus usurps Danaos’s throne, the 50 sons of Aegyptus seek to possess the 50 daughters of Danaos by forced marriage. Danaos and his daughters reject the compulsory unions and flee to Argos for sanctuary, pursued by the Egyptians.

The Suppliant Women is also one of the earliest known stories of refugees. It is one of Aeschylus’s most poetic pieces, beautifully translated by renowned writer and translator George Theodoridis. In this remarkably timely production Argos becomes modern Greece and the daughters, wearing life jackets and arriving on overcrowded boats, become Syrian refugees. This ancient play has neither hero, nor downfall, nor even tragic conclusion. Instead, the play’s themes, still pertinent today, explore human rights, the continuing oppression of women, and societal reactions to refugees.

About the Director
Michael Arabian has directed and produced numerous West Coast and world premieres in New York and Los Angeles, winning over 50 awards. In Los Angeles, he is best known for his production of Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum in 2012 which was honored with five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding Production and Direction. It was also nominated for ten Ovation Awards, winning five, including Best Production.

In 2016 Arabian directed Disgraced at San Diego Repertory Theatre, which received a San Diego Critics Award nomination for Best Production, and Red starring John Vickery. Both shows made the San Diego CityBeat’s Top 10 list. He also directed Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, starring the dance icon Leslie Caron at the Laguna Playhouse and Staging the Unstageable (commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Other productions at the Mark Taper include Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache, and workshops of new works.

His site-specific company, Theatre InSite, formed a partnership with CBS (Radford) Studios (a first for L.A. theater), to produce live TV pilots (Third Rock from the Sun picked up) and inventive, large-scale productions, such as an updated production of Romeo and Juliet where audiences followed scenes and car chases through the backlot’s suburban streets, and The Trojan Women set during the Gulf War and staged in 400,000 gallons of water at the old Gilligan’s Island Lagoon site.

Arabian’s film King of the Ants, shot on 35mm film, is distributed by Vanguard Cinema.

About the Company
Rogue Machine Theatre was founded in 2008 as a performing arts organization to serve the greater Los Angeles community by developing and nurturing emerging playwrights, introducing important new contemporary works to Southern California, and engaging diverse audiences by presenting vital, invigorating productions. The company mirrors and examines contemporary culture as a theater of ideas and imagination.

This year, Rogue Machine Theatre (RMT) received the Polly Warfield Award for Outstanding Season from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, making it the only theater company to be given this award twice in the past sixteen years. The company is a recipient of the American Theatre Wing’s 2014 National Theatre Company Grant, awarded to select theater organizations for the development of new work and other significant contributions to the field of professional theater in the United States. World premieres have subsequently played off Broadway, in major regional theaters, and at the Donmar Warehouse in London. RMT has been nominated for the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and/or Ovation Awards Best Production in Los Angeles in six of the last seven years and has won each award three times. In addition, RMT has garnered more than 60 awards for direction, design, and acting. More information is available at RogueMachineTheatre.com.