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“Khūrākī” was designed as a city-spanning series of live cultural/ culinary performances designed to challenge Americans’ perceptions about Afghanistan, while supporting a group of Afghan female refugees in their goal to start a collectively-owned-and-run food business in Pittsburgh.
Created and written by RealTime’s Molly Rice in collaboration with the refugees, the show was originally directed by RealTime’s Rusty Thelin in four parner sites across Pittsburgh in Spring 2019.
Commissioned by the Office of Public Art as part of their *Artists in Residence programs, Khūrākī (“eat” or “meal” in the Afghan language Dari) celebrates the beauty of Afghan culture, music, and food through “theatrical portraits” of five strong women who will forever be Afghan but have recently become Americans as well. What do they miss about their homeland? What have they been able to preserve in the flight from home–in their traditions, in their cooking, in their hearts? What do they hope to cultivate here in this country? And what do they want you to know about the beautiful land where they were born?
In the show, professional actors cast by the Afghan women themselves tell the women’s personal stories while they cook a meal together for the audience, introducing Pittsburghers to Afghan flavors in service to their central goal: to open the first Afghan food business in the city. Performances feature Afghan food prepared by the women, Afghan-inspired music (arranged and performed by classical musicians) and moments of immersive cultural experience.
Cast: Tressa Glover, Alex Manalo, Krystal Rivera, Kelly Trumbull, and Ashley Loren Williams.
Musicians: Emily Gallagher, Theresa Abalos, Evan Tegley, and Jennifer Sternick.