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"The Little Black Fish"

Based on a story by Samad Behrangi (a play for young and old, +5)

Triskelion Arts: 106 Calyer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Ma Theater Company opens its Brooklyn premiere of The Little Black Fish, directed by renowned Iranian director Mohammad Aghebati, at Triskelion Arts on 106 Calyer Street, Brooklyn on Friday, April 6 (

Mr. Aghebati, an innovative and award-winning director has dedicated his career to helping young audiences bridge the culture gap between Iran and the U.S. through art. His international team is made up of young artists from Turkey, Armenia, Iran, Germany and the U.S.

Samad Behrangi's short story Little Black Fish is about a fish that lives in a small stream and wants to live a life with aspirations and purpose. He embarks on an eye-opening journey with the spirit of a dreamer experiencing an awakening, but in the process, the path leads him to wisdom, courage, awareness, and the study of complex social relations. The short story earned Behrangi the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award in the 1970s but also got him in trouble with the Shah’s regime for allegedly pushing an anti-establishment message, resulting in Behrangi’s death under dubious circumstances.

The mission of the Little Black Fish is to respond to his mentor’s challenge: "Your life only matters if you leave an impact on others.” At a time of worldwide conflict between religions and cultures, this iconic story inspires change while presenting a view of Iran that is different from the mainstream media’s portrayal. It is a universally timeless story presented in a mesmerizing show involving music and multimedia to create a unique and immersive theater experience.

Featuring (in order of appearance): Lau Noah, Luca Nodjoumi, Mari Vial-Golden, Peter Sullivan, Nika Nodjoumi.

Production Team:

Adaptation for Stage: Mehrnoush Alia (special thanks to Afshin Hashemi) Concept & Directing: Mohammad Aghebati Producer: Mehrnoush Alia Composer: Melis Aker & Martin Shamoonpour

Set Designer: Mohammad Aghebati & Reza Behjat (thanks to Kimie Nishikawa) Costume Designer: Elivia Bovenzi (thanks to Ava Soltani Wiltse) Light Designer: Reza Behjat Associate Light Designer: Abigail Hoke-Brady

Video Designer: Adrian Jivicki Sound Designer: Negar Behbahani Illustrator: Armineh Moghadasi Assistant Director: Negin Keyhanfar Social Media Manager & PR: Garineh Nazarian

Artist Bios:

DIRECTOR: Mohammad Aghebati is a graduate of Theater Directing at Tehran Art University and was a Special Research Fellow at Yale School of Drama. His focus on young audiences is inspired by his deep belief in the power of art as an educational tool.

Aghebati has decades of experience in directing plays for adults and young audiences in his native Iran. He has received various awards for his plays including the Young Artist Medal of Honor from Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami. Aghebati was a member of the Leev Theater Group, which is known as one of Iran’s most successful and critically acclaimed theater groups. In 2007, Aghebati was selected and commissioned by the Japan Foundation to direct a new interpretation of Oedipus Rex, which was played in Tokyo. Several of his works have toured various international festivals.

In the US, “Hamlet, Prince of Grief” was presented as a part of the Under the Radar Festival at NYC’s Public Theater (Review at New York Times). Since then, it has been presented at the Asia Society in New York, Brigham Young University at the University of Southern California, and Sarasota’s Ringling Festival.

PRODUCER: Mehrnoush Alia is a filmmaker and theater producer working between New York and Tehran. She received her MFA in film with honors from Columbia University and her BA from UC Berkeley in Film Studies and Comparative Literature. During her undergraduate studies, Mehrnoush worked in film distribution and exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. In New York, she worked closely with the Director of Acquisitions at Magnolia Pictures. She also trained with Michael Hausman during the production of Downtown Express (Amadeus and Gangs of New York).

Mehrnoush has produced over a dozen short films, one feature film, and two of Aghebati’s plays. Her directorial debut Scheherazade has won several awards and screened at over twenty film festivals. She is currently working on establishing the distribution branch of Ma Film to help promote Iranian films in North America while also developing her first feature to shoot in Tehran in 2017.

ACTOR/MUSICIAN: Lau Noah is a Brooklyn-based storyteller from Spain. Through several musical influences and four languages that bring widely diverse qualities to the music, Noah travels from multi-instrumentalist, film scorer, and composer to writer, painter, and teacher with the endeavor of using Art as a shelter where the colors of the dark and the light naturally reconcile.

ACTOR: Luca Nodjoumi is a NYC-born German/Iranian actor and third grader who loves nothing more than to miss school for theater productions. He appeared in last year’s NYC preview of The Little Black Fish as well as in several school productions and some corporate film work. He is the grandson of internationally recognized fine artists Nahid Hagigat and Nicky Nodjoumi and the son of the Brooklyn-based filmmakers Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder. Given this background, few are surprised to see him hopping around NYC stages two years removed from graduating elementary school.

ACTRESS: Mari Vial-Golden is a Brooklyn-based theater artist originally from the Bay Area. Off-Broadway: Pentecost; Serious Money (PTP/NYC, Atlantic Stage 2). Regional: Wit; Common Enemy (Triad Stage). Other: Land Without Words (American Premiere, Middlebury College), In the Next Room... (Middlebury College), Cymbeline (Ovalhouse Theatre, London). EDUCATION: BA, Middlebury College; British American Drama Academy.

ACTOR: Peter Sullivan is an enthusiastic participant in theatre, film, television, and national as well as local politics. Theatre credits: Pentonville (Colin the Guard, Manhattan Repertory), The Tiny Mustache (Rolf, Playlight Theatre Company), Nosce Te Ipsum (Max, Sidekick Productions), DublinDwnDoublz (Various Roles, Cabrini Repertory); Film: Pain and Suffering (Mr. Bald Finance, Paul Dansker Production); 1-800-948-ROME (Mike, Chris Insana Production); My Father, My Don (Billy, Tony Napoli Production); TV: Mysteries at the Museum (Frank Hansen, Travel), Shadow of Doubt (Det. Zach Johnson, Investigation Discovery), Silent Library (Grandma, Viacom).

ACTRESS: Nika Nodjoumi, big sister to fellow cast member Luca Nodjoumi, is a NYC-born German/Iranian actress and fifth grader who has appeared in several school productions as well as in some corporate film work. She’s excited to give her debut performance in The Little Black Fish. Nika is based in Brooklyn, plays mean soccer and an even meaner piano, and will be receiving her high school diploma from the German School Brooklyn in about 8 years.

COMPOSER: Melis Aker is an American-born Turkish/Greek/Azeri actor, musician and writer. Her debut EP, Dirt, produced by Ayhan Sahin from Young Pals Music N.Y. Melis is currently based in New York and will be receiving her MFA in Play/Screen/Lyric Writing from Columbia University.

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