Together Tea: Leyla Modirzadeh’s one woman performance of an adaptation of Marjan Kamali’s Together Tea
"Kamali’s debut, set in the mid-’90s, is the story of Darya and Mina Rezayi, mother and daughter in a family that emigrated to the U.S. from Iran after Mina’s grand- mother was killed by an Iraqi bomb. One of three children trying to live up to their parents’ expectations, Mina would rather paint than finish her MBA. But mostly she wishes her mother, a frustrated mathematician, would stop creating spreadsheets of eligible Iranian-American men, who have so far all disappointed her. Darya’s husband embraces the can-do American spirit, but she misses prerevolutionary Iran, with its emphasis on family and tradition, and accompanies Mina on a visit to their homeland. The book’s second part takes place in Tehran, but during the revolution and the early years of the war with Iraq. Kamali’s lyrical writing is particularly vivid here, and warm, as with the many descriptions of tarof, a Persian verbal tradition. Al- though there are differences in Mina’s and Darya’s American experiences, the author effectively evokes the pull both women feel toward Iran. She creates empathy for a people forced to live one life in public and another privately.”
Leyla Modirzadeh is a performer and educator currently directing productions and teaching acting at San José City College. She has collaborated and toured with the Obie Award-winning theatre artist Ping Chong over the last 20 years on projects as performer, co-writer, and director as well as numerous multiple documentary theatre projects, known as the Undesirable Elements series. She has an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington, and an MFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She trained in improvisation and comedy at Second City in Chicago. She has taught theatre and various colleges and currently teaches theatre at San José City College. Her most recent publication is a contributing chapter about documentary theatre in the book Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way (Routledge Books). Ms. Modirzadeh appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association.