a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
by Gabriel Jason Dean
When Afghan refugee Nazrullah shows up on the doorstep of retired professor Dr. Harold Banks claiming to have known his adopted daughter Getee, the two become unlikely roommates and friends. Getee and Nazrullah’s relationship unfolds in a series of dramatized memories that reveal their uniquely human journey while stunning us with a new understanding of America’s tragic impact on Jihadism in the Middle East. A poignant new work inspired by true events, Heartland is a stirring emotional journey about love, loss, and understanding.
Heartland | Still Standing
BRIDGET KATHLEEN O’LEARY joined New Rep in 2008 where she serves as Associate Artistic Director. She has directed New Rep’s productions of Blackberry Winter, Scenes from an Adultery, Muckrakers, Pattern of Life, Lungs, Fully Committed, Collected Stories, DollHouse, boom, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and Fool for Love. Other directing credits include The Heidi Chronicles (Northeastern University), Othello (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), The Flick (Gloucester Stage Company), Reconsidering Hanna(h) and The Devil’s Teacup (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); The Other Place (The Nora Theatre and Underground Railway Theater); Recent Tragic Events, and Aunt Dan and Lemon (Whistler in the Dark). In 2007, she assisted Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg at the National Playwrights’ Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and worked as an assistant on new plays by Rebecca Gilman and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Before moving to Boston, Bridget worked in Washington, DC with the Olney Theatre Center, Theater Alliance, Cherry Red Productions, Charter Theater, Studio Theatre Second Stage, and Phoenix Theatre DC, of which she was a founding member. She is the Chair of the Literary Committee for the National New Play Network and a member of the New England New Play Alliance. Bridget received her MFA in directing at Boston University.
Afsoon Pajoufar makes her Boston Center for American Performance and New Repertory Theatre debut. Boston area credits include Cabaret, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Boston University). Film credits include Ruined, Zoya, Remembering the Pentagons, and Nar. She received a BA in Painting from the Azad Art and Architecture University of Tehran and is currently pursuing an MFA in Scenic Design at Boston University. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she currently resides in Allston.
LEE SCHUNA returns to New Repertory Theatre after designing Two Jews Walk Into a War, Lonely Planet, Statements After an Arrest, Fiddler on the Roof, and serving as Sound Engineer on multiple productions and events. Lee is a transmasculine freelance sound designer, composer, music producer, and graduate of the Music Industry program at Northeastern University. Credits include Hype Man, Peerless, Really, and The T Party (Company One); Every Brilliant Thing, Grand Concourse, and Significant Other (SpeakEasy Stage Company); Fires in the Mirror and The King Stag (Tufts University); and The Women Who Mapped The Stars (The Nora Theatre Company). He is currently working on experimental electronic music to be released on his pet record label at Human Nature Records. He resides in Roxbury. humannaturerecords.com
Renee E. Yancey makes her New Repertory Theatre debut and returns to Boston Center for American Performance after stage managing Exposed. New England-area credits include The Fantasticks (Opera House Arts); The Honey Trap and Faithless (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre/Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre); and Production Manager for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Boys from Syracuse (Landmarks Orchestra/Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). She was the Production Stage Manager for 30 productions at Olney Theatre Center. Favorite Olney credits include The King and I, A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening, and The 39 Steps. This summer, Renee will be the Production Manager for Richard III (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Renee is a Lecturer and Program Head of Stage Management for the School of Theatre at Boston University. She received a BFA in Theatre Arts from Texas State University-San Marcos. Originally from Texas, Renee was based in the DC/MD area before moving to Boston.
“It’s a weighty subject matter but told in a very personal and compelling way.”
“There is no denying or escaping the political aspects of Heartland, but its focus on the three characters and their relationships with each other is, for me, the most compelling feature. “
“In Heartland, Dean avoids the trap of facile political point-scoring; his characters are real, and he trusts them to convey history’s ache.”
“Across language barriers, this cast of three weaves time and location to tell a fast-paced story of deep love, strong beliefs and unsettling betrayal.”
“Dean’s play is a small, quiet reminder of the possibilities that humans can… grow tolerant if they take the time to listen and learn, despite the cultural divides…”
““Heartland” is a beautiful, timely and impeccably performed production.”
“The intimacy of the Mosesian Center for the Arts’ 90-seat BlackBox Theatre and Afsoon Pajoufar’s spare but effective set provides an immersive experience for the audience, which is transported from Kabul to Omaha with the flick…
“Heartland was achingly beautiful in the way that the greatest art moves us to yearn, hurt and struggle.”