Koranic Fatigue

Piama R Habibullah

A curtain opening from dark to light.


Classes Thesis

Koranic Fatigue is a one-man show depicting various people connected to the Islamic diaspora. The purpose of the piece is to show that there is no such thing as pan-Islamism by neither defending or offending the religion. The focus of the project is to engage in every aspect of creating a subtle yet thought-provoking experience for the audience. Each character is fleshed out using various types of media. Careful consideration is given to symbols and words that have been Fatigued or weakened over time due to overexertion. The particular time in the world and history is the basis of inspiration for the creators of Koranic Fatigue- who are also a part of the Islamic diaspora- therefore having an insider's view while keeping an open perspective.

Koranic Fatigue is a piece of theatre composed of monologues of several different characters. Each character is enriched with sound, video projection, set artifacts, color, and costume. The dramatic text was developed through imagining the various communities of Islam all over the world. The stories are bookended and intersected with an honest voice from the actor's true life as a South Asian man who grew up with a Muslim identity in a diverse Bronx neighborhood.

The process in which KF came to fruition is a personal and natural one. Riz wrote a dramatic text depicting several characters and read the monologues as I took notes on thoughts I had of color, mood, objects, and sound. Suddenly, he was shoving the script into my hands saying, “You have the eye, you are going to direct this.” Before I could say no, we were scribbling and sketching away- editing the writing, choosing characters to depict, ruminating on imagery and direction.

KF depicts a microcosm of particular people of one religion occupying disparate communities all over the world. It is not a showcase of one actor’s talents so much as a show using one actor to be able to focus on the stories told. The format allows to breakdown the “fourth wall,” the invisible boundary between the fiction and the audience. The “fourth wall” is suspension of disbelief for the audience; KF breaks this in moments to show awareness of the audience.

Anyone with a curious mind and heart.

User Scenario
Theatre is a live action, full-body experience.
It’s the thrill of being part of something in the moment,
never to be seen quite in that light again.
It incites conversation, raises laughter, eyebrows,
makes one squirm and cry.

With a few simple laws of aesthetics and order,
a gorgeous flow of words, light, and thought emerges.

KF’s scripts were carefully edited to maintain respectibility amongst non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Careful use of imagery, video, and sound enrich each character without hitting the audience over the head. The approach is to use entertainment, humor, and an honest tone to bring light to darkness. The stories stop right before the punchline, before the yes or no. Without trying to run through the laundry-list of all possible Muslim characters, a selection was made based on obvious and obscure people that the audience may or may not have experienced in their own lives.

Future plans include developing the full piece with focus on specific objects and subtle visuals/sounds that relate to each character. We would like to present it to companies that embrace hybrid and experimental theater and work with people who are willing to take risks in a time where dialogue such as this can go in any direction.