GLENDALE — On March 11, at 8 p.m., Mary Apick will bring her celebrated play “Beneath the Veil” to Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre (216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale 91203) for a one-night-only performance.
Symbolically titled “Beneath the Veil,” Apick’s work delves beyond the western stereotypes of the repressive headscarf, revealing the powerful, true stories of 10 different women of varying ages who face oppression in the Middle East, especially Iran. These women wear the traditional veil, some willingly and others unwillingly.
Apick, who also wrote, directed and stars in the production, offers a rare glimpse beneath the veil and into the lives of powerful women who so often don’t get to be seen or heard.
“Beneath the Veil” begins with an American journalist who falls asleep while researching an article on the lives of Middle Eastern women. Mid-dream, the women who serve as the subject of the news article come to life around the journalist, sharing their stories, which shed a troublesome light on the treatment of women in parts of the Middle East.
Apick plays several parts, including the character Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian journalist who was tortured, raped and killed in Tehran for taking photographs of the exterior of a prison in 2003 and a stereotypical lavish Arab woman who wears the slinkiest of designer dresses beneath her head-totoe burqa (which she claims to adore). Other stories include a young girl who kills herself after being severely reprimanded for listening to music of Michael Jackson, and a woman being punished for a moral sin that she has committed by being buried up to her neck in a shallow grave and then stoned to death.
Since premiering in 2005, when it became the winner of the 2005 Los Angeles Theatre Festival’s Critics’ Choice Award, “Beneath the Veil” has shared its powerful message with audiences across the country. Previous performances were at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC with actress Diane Baker, Lincoln Center in New York City last April in 2010 and Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and Toronto. Past speakers and honorary chairs for previous performances include First Lady Laura Bush, international journalist Rudi Bakhtiar, former representative to the United Nation’s General Assembly Goli Ameri and Deputy Executive Director of Amnesty International Timothy Higdon.
Aside from being co-writer of the show together with Ginger Perkins, Apick produced, directed and stars in the show, alongside fellow actors Anthony Azizi and Apick Youssefian.
“Beneath the Veil” is presented by Mary Apick Productions, Inc., in association with the Armenian American Medical Society’s Women’s Auxiliary, Glendale Arts, YWCA of Glendale and the City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. A portion of the proceeds from this performance will go to the Armenian American Medical Society’s Women’s Auxiliary and the YWCA of Glendale.
“Women of all cultures are affected by violence. The commission is proud to support this powerful production and hope that the entire community will do the same. We must all work together to end violence against women, here and abroad,” stated Paula Devine, president of the City of Glendale’s Commission on the Status of Women.
A women’s rights activist, writer and actress, Apick began her career as a child actress in Iran, starring in “Octopus.” This was a “Saturday Night Live” type of television show in which she performed political and satirical skits that helped change and liberalize Iranian society. Before being forced to flee her country due to a revolution, Apick was one of the most celebrated actresses in Iran. She is the first Iranian actress to receive the Best Actress award at the Moscow International Film Festival for the film “Dead End.” Apick costarred in the NBC miniseries “On Wings Of Eagles” with Burt Lancaster. Together with her business partner Bob Yari, producer of “Crash” and “The Illusionist,” she has produced a variety of films including “Mind Games,” “Checkpoint” and “Jewel of the Night.” It is Apick’s goal through these productions to raise awareness and hopefully improve conditions for women and children around the world, especially in the Middle East.
For further information on the “Beneath the Veil” performance at the Alex Theatre, visit www.alextheatre.org.