by Jordan Orlando and Becca Jennings
Journalism today is, in a word, dynamic. From the growth of new digital media and the “fake news” movement to rolling scandals and stories that stir us out of our comfort zones, journalists today face a new frontier—one that requires media leaders to be more adaptable, tenacious, and persistent than ever before.
How far would you go to get “the story” in this uncharted new media landscape? And what if what you found once you got there wasn’t the angle you expected? What makes a story important enough to be told on a global scale? And whose right is it to tell it? FST tackles these questions and more in the World Premiere of Honor Killing, our Mainstage season finale.
Sarah Bierstock’s Honor Killing is a dynamic adventure drama starring Allisyn Davis, a foreign correspondent who risks her own life to report the murder of a young Pakistani woman, Samira. When Immigration denies Davis entry into Pakistan, an old flame and colleague, Ben Adams, comes to help Davis share Samira’s story with the world. But will Allisyn’s feelings get in the way of her journalistic instinct or integrity? Or will digging up pieces of Samira’s past excavate pieces of Allisyn’s own?
Mapping out these themes and questions is Honor Killing Director and FST’s Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. After a few years away from the Mainstage director’s chair, Hopkins returns to the role, and is thrilled to experiment with a play with as many artistic challenges as this one. “It’s fun to get to watch this high-end educated investigative reporter dealing with an issue that’s close to her heart,” said Hopkins. “It’s a good mystery and a good thriller.”
Honor Killing made its FST debut at the 2016 Richard and Betty Burdick Reading Series as part of last year’s New Play Festival. After a year in development, this timely play is ready for its World Premiere on the FST Mainstage, and anchors this year’s 2018 Festival.
In addition to its powerful story, Honor Killing is full of exciting technical theatricality. Actors will use Skype live on stage, bringing audiences around the world—from New York to Dubai to Lahore to London to Cairo—to examine themes of justice, forgiveness, and the human connection. Taking on the play’s challenging video and projection design is Rocco DiSanti, whose work was seen in FST’s 2015 regional premiere of Fly.
Stepping back into the spotlight as Allisyn Davis, just moments after leaving it is FST alumna Rachel Moulton, most recently seen in this season’s Mainstage drama, Heisenberg, as Georgie Burns. Last seen in FST’s 2012 production of Das Barbecü, Maria Couch returns to FST playing the role of Melissa Davis, Allisyn’s sister. FST also welcomes newcomers: Michael Hammond as Allisyn’s colleague, Ben Adams; Devon Ahmed as Pakistani Lawyer and activist Mehreen; William Langan as New York Times Bureau Chief Edward Evans; and J Paul Nichols in four roles as Abbas, a Pakistani stringer; Ijaaz, husband of the deceased Samira; Zasar, the Pakistani Consulate; and Muzaffar Khan, Samira’s lawyer.
Through a 90 minute investigation of justice and forgiveness, audiences will explore parallels between the characters of Allisyn and Samira. Is it really Allisyn’s career that is driving her to get this story? Or is it something bigger—something that connects all women around the world?