Annalisa Dias

Annalisa Dias

I am a deviser, playwright, director, and performer. I've taught theatre for social justice in the United States, Malawi, and South Africa. I co-founded the DC Coalition for Theatre & Social Justice, am an active member of ATHE's Theatre & Social Change focus group, and am part of TCG's 2016 Rising Leaders of Color cohort. I am a Welder. http://www.thewelders.org

Plays

  • Return to Aleppo
    RETURN TO ALEPPO is a short theatrical piece about two women who decide to leave Aleppo in the night after the 2013 bombings that destroyed much of Aleppo’s Old City during the ongoing Syrian Civil War.
  • A Legacy of Chains
    A young student named May just wants to understand the big words her history teacher is using: segregation and lynching. Her teacher has to negotiate her language carefully. This short piece examines the ways we teach history, erase hard truths, and the link between Jim Crow era segregation and the contemporary prison industrial complex and school-to-prison pipeline. This piece was commissioned by The...
    A young student named May just wants to understand the big words her history teacher is using: segregation and lynching. Her teacher has to negotiate her language carefully. This short piece examines the ways we teach history, erase hard truths, and the link between Jim Crow era segregation and the contemporary prison industrial complex and school-to-prison pipeline. This piece was commissioned by The Phillips Collection in response to the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series.
  • Servant of the Wind
    SERVANT OF THE WIND is a dynamic investigation of psycho-physical presence and embodied memory using storytelling styles from the United States and India. Inspired by time Annalisa spent in southern India studying kalaripayattu, an ancient Indian martial art that was almost destroyed during the British occupation, SERVANT examines cycles of memory and the passing on of history and tradition. SERVANT is at once...
    SERVANT OF THE WIND is a dynamic investigation of psycho-physical presence and embodied memory using storytelling styles from the United States and India. Inspired by time Annalisa spent in southern India studying kalaripayattu, an ancient Indian martial art that was almost destroyed during the British occupation, SERVANT examines cycles of memory and the passing on of history and tradition. SERVANT is at once a re-imagining of The Ramayana (an ancient Indian epic of love and war), a personal meditation on physical and emotional healing, and an excavation of colonial histories encoded on the bodies of members of the Indian diaspora.
  • To Defend Freedom
    On August 29, 2013 two Algerian detainees were released from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center after being held captive for 12 years without charge. American and international newspapers published scanty information about this event that changed the course of two lives. This ten-minute piece imagines the scene between one of the detainees and his lawyer who breaks the momentous news.
  • The Last Allegiance
    In a world where loyalty to the throne is valued more highly than all other things, heroic Prince Esfandiyar must carry out an unthinkably shameful act. The tyrannical king Goshtasp commands his son, Esfandiyar, to embark on a journey across the Persian desert to confront the mighty hero Rostam and bind him in chains. Though Esfandiyar knows of Rostam’s innocence, loyalty and honor mandate that he obey King...
    In a world where loyalty to the throne is valued more highly than all other things, heroic Prince Esfandiyar must carry out an unthinkably shameful act. The tyrannical king Goshtasp commands his son, Esfandiyar, to embark on a journey across the Persian desert to confront the mighty hero Rostam and bind him in chains. Though Esfandiyar knows of Rostam’s innocence, loyalty and honor mandate that he obey King Goshtasp’s decree. His father has placed him in an unimaginable position: he must choose whether to carry out the highest injustice in the land against a blameless man or to defy the king, an act tantamount to sacrilege. Either path condemns him. Believing he has no choice in the matter and seeing no way of avoiding the disastrous battle, Esfandiyar sets off on what he thinks is a hopeless quest across the desert accompanied by his wise brother, Pashutan, and his young son, Bahman. Along the way they meet a mystical traveler who performs the dance of the whirling dervish and warns them about trusting too much in the ways of men. “Let no one think there is room for fear. No man can escape,” she says. Growing more and more fearful about his imminent fate, Esfandiyar ventures to an extraordinary place amid the desert rocks, a glistening pool of ancient dragon blood, where legend has it that he whose skin touches the blood would be made unassailable, their body turned hard as brass. There he meets another strange and terrifying figure who warns him against seeking worldly power for himself. “What you seek is seeking you,” she whispers before disappearing. When Esfandiyar and his companions finally reach Rostam’s fortress at Zabol, the surehearted prince confronts the ancient warrior and battle ensues, the fallout of which no one could have predicted. The Last Allegiance interrogates the often-competing loyalties that bind the human heart. To whom or to what are we obliged? And at what cost? This medieval Persian epic, based on the story told by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi and drawing from the wisdom of Hafiz, Rumi, and Attar, has been freely adapted for a contemporary audience to probe our understanding of the consequences of unwavering adherence both to the laws of men and those of Heaven. Esfandiyar, Pashutan, and Bahman determinedly grapple with conflicting convictions about the nature of God and human accountability.