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Q&A: Disgraced

Ali Momen talks about his role in Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize-winning play

Presented by Mirvish Productions and Hope and Hell Theatre Company
Written by Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Robert Ross Parker

(L-R) Karen Glave, Michael Rubenfeld, Raoul Bhaneja, Birgitte Solem and Ali Momen. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann.

Following sold-out engagements in Chicago, London and New York, Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced is coming to Toronto from April 3 to 17, 2016 as part of the Off-Mirvish series. Disgraced explores the stories we tell our friends, the secrets we tell our lovers and the lies we tell ourselves to find our place in the American Dream.

Directed by Robert Ross Parker, the Toronto production boasts a talented cast, including Raoul Bhaneja, Ali Momen, Karen Glave, Michael Rubenfeld and Birgitte Solem.

Here, we chat with Ali MomenMuch Ado About Nothing (Tarragon), Iceland (Why Not Theatre), Sultans Of The Street (YPT)about his role in the show.

Theatromania: How would you describe this play in a few sentences?

AM: Disgraced examines tribalism in a seemingly non tribal, hemogenic society. Is there such a thing as a melting pot? What do we need to shed in order to fit in? What are the consequences?

Theatromania: Tell us about your character, Abe. 

AM: Abe is Amir’s nephew who asks Amir to aid his Imam who's been taken into custody by the FBI over accusations that he's been funnelling money to terrorism. This sparks the inciting incident of the play. Abe is in the beginning a modern, assimilated, and American as American can be. By the end, his experiences with a society that views him as “less than” and the witnessing of his uncle’s fall from grace, he become radicalized.

Theatromania: What have you learned from working with this cast and director Robert Ross Parker?

AM: Robert is a tremendously patient, warm, emotional, and intelligent director. It's been a joy. Like Abe looks up to Amir, I have always looked up to Raoul. He paved the way for me in many ways. So that has been a treat. He's a mentor. The rest of the cast is top notch. Amazing performers and people.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

AM: That in order for a liberal and democratic society to exist peacefully and healthily, we must allow our people to be proud of who they are from the outset. We can not in one public statement prop them up and in a policy shame them. It's imperative. 

Theatromania: What’s next for you?

AM: I did a guest spot on Houdini and Doyle which comes out in the summer and will be featured in a film for OVO Sound’s new group DVSN.

See Ali Momen in Disgraced, April 3 to 17 at the Panasonic Theatre as part of the Off-Mirvish series. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sun, 2016-04-03 - Sun, 2016-04-17


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