As part of their 15th anniversary season, Silk Road Rising, a Chicago-based theater and online media company, will present staged readings of plays originally commissioned as part of the Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays (P3M5). Each afternoon’s bill will include P3M5 pieces from Philip Kan Gotanda, Kenneth Lin, Rachida Lamrabet, and Marioan Hosseini, as well as others.
Silk Road Rising (formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project) creates live theater and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. The organization is a creative response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Company co-founders and life partners, Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury felt galvanized to respond to the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments that swept the US in the aftermath of the attacks, and to challenge arguments surmising a “clash of civilizations.” Their hope was to counter negative representation of Middle Eastern and Muslim peoples with representation that was authentic, multi-faceted, and grounded in human experience. Their idea quickly expanded beyond the Middle East to encompass that vast geographical area known historically as the Silk Road, a territory stretching from Japan to Italy. Silk Road Theatre Project thus officially came into existence in the summer of 2002, becoming the nation’s first theater company dedicated to representing such a diverse grouping of peoples and cultures.
P3M5 is a groundbreaking transatlantic theater project focused on the value of privacy. In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Washington, theaters across the US and Europe have commissioned playwrights to write five-minute plays exploring the central question, “What does privacy mean to you in the digital age?” The resulting plays, and subsequent short films adapted from them, are being presented in different formats by a network of theaters, festivals, and other organizations between January 2017 and June 2018.