Oscar nominee Eric Roberts to co-star in play commissioned by Kane Repertory Theatre

ST. CHARLES – Kane Repertory Theatre announces the world-premiere online production of Hammaad Chaudry’sSecurity,” as part of the company’s new Multiplatform Commission. The cast includes Academy Award and three-time Golden Globe nominee Eric Roberts and Harsh J. Gagoomal.

The St. Charles-based theater company’s Artistic Director Daniil Krimer and Managing Director Avery Bowne note the play will premiere online April 10 to May 2, with plans for an in-person production when it is deemed safe in light of the pandemic.

“Security is directed by Executive Producer Ansley Valentine. The stage manager is Rayne Kleinofen, and assistant stage manager is Justin Williams.

In the play, a 17-year-old Riaz (played by Gagoomal) arrives from Britain in the United States for the first time, and is stopped at the airport by a Homeland Security officer named Brian (Roberts). The experience will change Riaz’s life forever. Thirteen years later, a grownup Riaz returns to the United States, hunts down Brian at his home, and now interrogates him – it’s time to return the favor.

The online production will be a blend of film and theater. Green screens and professional film setups are provided to the cast in their individual locations, and with the work of a video editor, the final production will look and feel as if both actors are sharing the same space, a news release stated.

“You don’t get to work with Oscar nominees often,” Krimer stated in the release. “Eric Roberts is one of those rare, class-act actors that has immense talent and zero ego. It is a masterclass to watch him work, and it’s an honor to have him as part of this project. Combine Eric Roberts with the dynamic Chicago actor Harsh J. Gagoomal, and you forget that you’re watching a play on an iPad and not in the actual room.

“With Zoom fatigue being a real thing, we want to make sure this isn’t just another production with two Zoom screens,” he said. “We are combining the mediums here, intertwining film and theater, and the performances are something special.”

Tickets for the online production cost $25 per household or $10 per adult, $8 per senior, and $5 per student. Tickets are available now at www.kanerepertorytheatre.com/box-office.

“Hammaad Chaudry provides a wonderful new Muslim voice to the American theater,” Valentine, the director, stated in the release. “In this time when we are being challenged by so many prejudices coming to light, this play provides an interesting and nuanced discussion of issues [such as] race, religion and patriotism we all must confront. Eric Roberts and Harsh Gagoomal are both powerful actors. Their combination of stage and screen experiences lift the words off the page in a thrilling way.

“And bringing Mr. Roberts back to the theater, albeit virtually, is an exciting prospect,” Valentine said. “The play is scary and funny and touching. We hope to create a piece that provides a blend of stage and film for something we do not see often; it won’t be your typical Zoom reading. I can’t wait to share it with an audience.”

About Kane Rep’s Multiplatform Commission

The Multiplatform Commission was created to explore how virtual theater can serve the transition of a brand new play to the live stage. The Kane Repertory Theatre Multiplatform Commission selects one outstanding playwright to have a world premiere play in two mediums – digitally this spring and later in-person. Chaudry’s play was selected to be developed over a months-long process.

“At Kane Rep’s 2020 New Play Lab, we gave 14 playwrights the opportunity to workshop their new works for about 10 hours each,” Krimer said. “In retrospect, it’s clear that that is not enough time to help playwrights make significant changes to their works of art. This realization inspired us to create the Multiplatform Commission. We decided that in order to give a playwright the ability to develop a piece, we should commission them and work in tandem to give a piece life.

“After reading ‘An Ordinary Muslim,’ we knew that Hammaad Chaudry was our guy,” Krimer said. “We are now on draft two of ‘Security,’ and Hammaad’s ability to make everyday dramatic situations symbolize something much bigger is a testament to why he is one of the premiere up-and-coming playwrights of this decade.”

As Kane Repertory Theatre looks forward to 2021, it envisions a year of hope – one that will bring artists and audiences back to the theater and in physical community with one another, the team stated.

For more information about Kane Repertory Theatre, visit www.kanerepertorytheatre.com.