A Staged Reading of The Who and the What

written by Ayad Akhtar
directed by Vivienne Benesch

Zarina, a talented Pakistani-American writer, has put her personal life on hold to finish her novel about women and Islam. That is, until her conservative father signs her up for an Islam-based dating website and introduces her to Eli, a young convert to the faith. But when Zarina’s family discovers the controversial theme of her novel, their long-simmering conflicts over progressive and traditional beliefs explode. This ferociously funny and eloquent play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced takes an unflinching look at the contradictions that make us who we are.

Join us for a post-performance talkback with the artists and director, led by Andrea Benjamin, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.


PRCatCPA is a collaboration between Carolina Performing Arts and PlayMakers Repertory Company.  PRCatCPA presents two readings of plays that depict the tension between the sacred and the secular in contemporary Muslim life. The protagonists in these plays are torn between their cultural and religious heritage and the demands of modernity and assimilation. Their stories give us an entry into the complexities of navigating day-to-day life amidst a rapidly changing cultural landscape. Each reading will be followed by a discussion led by PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch and the creative team.

16-17 Sufi Web Link