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Mimi’s Suitcase - PolySHAMory - The Violins of Hope

Diaspora Arts Connection

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with multilingual playwright and actor Ana Bayat, about her one-woman show, Mimi's Suitcasean autobiographical story about identity, immigration, women’s rights, and involuntary displacement. 

Mimi's Suitcase is based on Bayat’s family’s experience of returning to Iran in the 1980s from Spain, where she grew up. In this true untold story of the Iranian revolution, Mimi’s involuntary return to a war-torn Iran after a happy childhood in Barcelona awakens questions of the true meaning of identity, homeland and the aftermaths of displacement.

Written, performed, and created by Ana Bayat and directed by Elyse Singer, Mimi's Suitcase takes place for 4 performances only January 23 - 25, in association with Theatre of Yugen, at NOH Space (2840 Mariposa St.) in San Francisco.

Writer/performer Kate Robards stops by to talk about her latest solo play PolySHAMory, in which she plays Kate, who has everything she’s ever dreamed of… But so does Kate’s husband’s girlfriend. With a polyamory therapist and sex-positive ethos, Kate begins a polyamorous marriage that goes wrong. A story of his and her. And hers. And his. And sex. And therapy. And love.

PolySHAMory, which was part of as part of the Marsh Rising series in 2018, runs through February 8 at The Marsh SF (1062 Valencia St.) in San Francisco.

Plus, we talk with composer Jake Heggie and violinist/conductor Dawn Harms about The Violins of Hope, a priceless collection of recovered and meticulously restored instruments from the Holocaust era, which starts an eight-week residency in the Bay Area, through March 15. 

The residency includes 50 of the 86 recovered Holocaust-era string instruments in the Violins of Hope collection. Thanks to the efforts of forty-two Bay Area organizations, these iconic instruments will be featured during a number of public events including symphonic, chamber and klezmer concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, community forums and lectures, interfaith dialogues, student/teacher workshops, and ecumenical services. 

Participating are, among many others, the San Francisco Symphony’s Chamber Musicians, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Oakland Symphony, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Ariel Quartet, Alexander String Quartet, and the Young Chamber Musicians of Burlingame.

Producing organization Music at Kohl Mansion has commissioned award-winning composer/librettist team Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer for a chamber work appropriate to the occasion, Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope. Performing its world premiere on January 19 (preview Jan 18), is renowned mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Daniel Hope, and a string quartet that consists of members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra (including Dawn Harms). Each musician will be performing on one of the historic string instruments from the Violins of Hope collection.

The Bay Area debut of this illustrious violin collection coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by the Soviet Army and with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, January 27.

Open Air, with host David Latulippe, heard live on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Listen now or anytime…