We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War
Patricia Neal Stage

We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War

June 30 - July 15, 2023


WE SWIM, WE TALK, WE GO TO WAR will be presented as an engrossing staged reading/performance in our intimate, air conditioned Marilyn Meyerhoff Lobby for the next two nights - Wednesday, July 12 and Thursday, July 13 at 7 pm. ALL TICKETS ARE DISCOUNTED FOR THESE TWO SHOWS ONLY - $25. Please note that seating in the lobby is general admission - no reserved seats. The doors will open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7 pm.

We are still hopeful that our HVAC system will be repaired in time for the final performances of WE SWIM on our Patricia Neal Stage on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15. If you have questions, please contact the box office at 508-696-6300 or boxoffice@mvplayhouse.org

Starring: Fajer Al-Kaisi, Amin El Gamal, Rasha Zamamiri & Joshua Echebiri

With humor and compassion, an Arab-American woman and her nephew, an Army soldier, debate the morality of going to war while trying to navigate the currents of the Pacific. Adventurous theater, exploring the murky waters of family, identity and politics.

“Can American theater really still beget a political play that represents opposing sides fairly, in good faith, such that audience members of different political stripes might all recognize themselves in the characters? “We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War” answers both questions with an understated but insistent affirmative and wholly earns that hopeful outlook — even in our divisive, cynical times.” – San Francisco Chronicle


Director: Johanna McKeon
Writer: Mona Mansour
Lighting Design: Ernest Iannaccone
Scenic Design: Sean Roach
Sound Design: Liam Bellman-Sharpe
Production Stage Manager: Christine Lomaka
Costume Design: Chrysal Parrot

We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War

Mona Mansour (Playwright)
In 2019, Mona formed the theater company SOCIETY, with Scott Illingworth and Tim Nicolai. The aim was to create a company where work could be created, joint stock style, with improvisation, research and discussion, as fast and furious as possible. Their first production, Beginning Days of True Jubilation, was performed entirely on Zoom in August 2020. The play was remounted in person in July 2022 at the New Ohio Theatre. We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War premiered at SF’s Golden Thread in 2018. (Visit monamansour.com/bio for full bio)
Johanna McKeon (Director)
Johanna McKeon is currently the Associate Director of Funny Girl on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include King Kong, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, War Paint and Grey Gardens. She has directed multiple national and international Broadway tours. Directing credits include the West Coast premiere of Heather Raffo’s Noura, Henry V, Mona Mansour’s Unseen, and Anonymous Biography, The Arguments of Juan José Saer at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego. Additional directing credits include the premiere of Anne Washburn’s I Have Loved Strangers (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Clubbed Thumb), Tokio Confidential (Atlantic Theater Company), The Comedy of Errors and Schmoozy Togetherness (Williamstown), Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse), A Hatful of Rain (ITS Festival Warsaw), Semi-Permanent (New York International Fringe Festival; Outstanding Solo Show), The Importance of Being Earnest (Bard College), Golden Motors (BRIC), and Functional Drunk, Fiesta Cabana, and The Tanks Break (Ontological-Hysteric Theater). She directs frequently for the Obie Award–winning Noor Theatre. Her independent feature Auld Lang Syne received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2016 Indie Street Film Festival. She is a co-founder of the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation and served as a panelist for The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in 2020. Johanna spent a year working as Regie Praktikant in Berlin at the Schaubuehne and Maxim Gorki Theater and she has worked extensively with Toho Theatrical in Tokyo, Japan. She is the recipient of Drama League, Boris Sagal, and Fulbright Fellowships. MFA UT Austin.
Fajer Al-Kaisi (The Arab)
Tv: Shazzan on Jellystone (HBO max) Law and Order, Future man, Daredevil, The Code, 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, The Blacklist, The Onion News Network, Person of Interest, Delocated, Search Party, Madam Secretary,Deadbeat.
Film: ‘Karim’ in I'll Come Running, ‘Ali Soufan’ in the Report, ‘the interpreter’ in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Theatrical:Tareq in Nora (Guthrie), Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Grahm in Informed Consent (Cleveland Playhouse) and Shahid the translator in Aftermath (NYTW, Arktype World tour) Additional regional credits: the humans, Midsummer nights dream, disgraced, and the invisible hand.
Amin El Gamal (He)
Amin El Gamal (he/they) is an actor and producer originally from Northern California. He’s best known for playing Cyclops on the Prison Break revival—which made him the first openly queer Muslim actor to play a leading role on television.
Amin’s other TV work includes Good Trouble, The Newsroom, Shameless, Transparent, and The Librarians. His film roles include Message from the King (opposite Chadwick Boseman and Alfred Molina), Namour, First Love, and Breaking Fast (now on Hulu). On stage, he's worked at Roundabout, the NY Public Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, A Noise Within, Golden Thread Productions, the Ashland New Play Festival, and Musical Theatre West. He's also an Earphone Award-winning audiobook narrator.
As a producer, Amin is currently working on the short film Unmasking with Sundance-winner Aubree Brenier-Clarke and the feature film Egypt, TX written by acclaimed novelist Randa Jarrar. He’s a graduate of Stanford University, USC's MFA in Acting program, and WarnerMedia Access. aminelgamal.com
Rasha Zamamiri (She)
RASHA ZAMAMIRI is ecstatic to be joining the cast and crew of we swim, we talk, we go to war for her debut performance at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Rasha is an Arab-American actor, singer, and voice-over artist who is most recognized as the Hijabi Woman in the Coca-Cola, "America Is Beautiful" spot, during multi-season airings of the Super Bowl & Olympics Games, with the distinction of being the first Arab woman shown in a veil in a Prime-Time national commercial campaign. She was last seen in “The Blacklist” as Safiya Maroun. Film and TV credits include Mary Harron’s Sonnet for a Towncar, “Leverage: Redemption”, “Blue Bloods”, “Instinct”, “The Looming Tower”, “Blindspot”, “Madam Secretary” and ‘Ramy”. Theatre credits include When Monica Met Hillary (Colony Theater), The American Underground (Barrington Stage), Kiss (Yale Rep), The Who & The What (Gulfshore Playhouse), and Aftermath (NYTW/International Tour). You can also listen to one of her AudioFile Earphones Award winning narration of As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh. Proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Joshua Echebiri (The American)
THEATER: Henry V (The Old Globe: Globe For All), Lizardly (Media Art Exploration / New York Live Arts), Merry Wives (The Public Theater: Free Shakespeare in the Park), Romeo N Juliet (virtual) (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun, (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Something Happens for Joe, (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Soft (Williamstown Theatre Festival); TELEVISION: Bob Hearts Abishola, Season 4 (CBS), Dear Edward (Apple TV+), The Good Fight, Seasons 5-6 (Paramount+). BA: Dartmouth College. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting. Instagram: @joshuaechebiri. www.joshuaechebiri.com.
Sean Roach (Set Design)
Sean studied painting at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He is also an actor, performing in theater and on television as the host and co-producer of two TV shows called The Sunny Side Up Show and Noodle and Doodle which have aired on Sprout, NBC and networks all over the world. Sean is also a member of Comedy Sportz Philadelphia, an award-winning improvisational comedy troupe. He has been a year-round resident of Martha’s Vineyard since August of 2017, moving here with his wife and two children. Sean exhibits at the MV Artisans Fair throughout the summer season. His latest focus has been on creating socially and politically engaged art. www.SeanRoachArts.com
Ernest W. Iannaccone (Lighting Design)
Ernie has designed lights and sets for numerous productions at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse since 1993. Ernie has a Master of Fine Arts Degree from New York University in Lighting Design and a BA in Music Education from New Jersey City University. He is a Project Manager in the System Sales Department for High Output/Boston.
Chrysal Parrot (Costume Design)
Chrysal is a clothing designer/costume maker based on the Vineyard. She originally came here in 1993 to drive tour buses. She fell in love with the Island, and came back summer after summer, and moved here in 1999. Chrysal has been designing and making her own clothes for almost 40 years and professionally for 35.
Liam Bellman-Sharpe (Sound Design)
Liam Bellman-Sharpe (Sound Designer) is an Australian multi-disciplinarian working primarily in sound and music for live performance. Liam’s work includes musical and sonic scores and environments for theatre, dance, installation, and hybrid forms. As a composer, sound designer, orchestrator, musician, and music director, Liam’s work has been heard in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia. Liam holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, and an MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama.
Jason Paul Tate (Fight Choreographer)
Jason (he/him) is a director, choreographer, and performer, splitting time between San Diego, CA, and New York City. Professionally addicted to movement, he has spent the last 20 years collaborating with world-renowned actors, acrobats, tango dancers, and string musicians to create works with high concentrations of physicality. Credits include the Edinburgh and New York Fringe, American Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Ars Nova, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, Classic Stage Company, the Ordway Performing Arts Center, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Havoc Movement Company, Blackbird Dance Theatre, On Site Opera, Pensacola Opera, Opera Western Reserve, and The Lost Colony. He has been doubly fortunate to perform elements of his own creation in specialized movement at the Public’s Delacorte Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera, and numerous live stunt shows across the country. Jason is a proud member of SDC and AEA. He is the current Vice President of the Society of American Fight Directors as well as a recognized fight director and certified teacher; and he is the co-founder of Neutral Chaos, a movement solutions company dedicated to training artists to tell physical stories. jasonpaultate.com
Christine Lomaka (Stage Manager)
Chris has had the good fortune to work for the Playhouse since 2000, stage managing A Life in the Theatre, Far East, The Whaleship Essex, Driving Miss Daisy, and Angela’s Mixtape among others. Other companies she’s worked for include Arizona Theatre Company, The Cockpit Theatre (London, England), Trinity Rep, Greater Boston Stage Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre, Dallas Opera and Houston Grand Opera. Chris spent 15 years in Los Angeles working in film, television, opera and theater, and was the production manager for The Groundlings. She has been a member of Actors Equity since 1987.