DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX (March 29, 2023): Following the extended run of Spaceman by Leegrid Stevens, Amphibian Stage announced the full company of Baba (April 21 – May 7) and shares new insight on their next Main-Stage Production. Baba tells the story of an immigrant father and US-born daughter separated by 30 years, 6,000 miles, and the price of pursuing the American dream. This script was initially written for playwright Denmo Ibrahim to play both the father, Mohammed, and daughter, Layla. While the original production toured many times, the Amphibian Stage regional premiere marks the first time the play is reinvisioned with a new director, creative team, and two actors.

Recent Northwestern MFA graduate Hamid Dehghani will helm the production as director. Dehghani tells us how his own experience immigrating to the US inspired his fantastical and colorful approach to staging Baba. “I still remember the day I went to the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey, for my student visa interview. Dressed in my finest suit and having practiced my responses meticulously, I was determined not to make any mistakes. My future and dreams hinged on their decision. To the embassy staff, I was just another applicant with a mountain of paperwork on an ordinary day. My story resonates with the play Baba, written by Denmo Ibrahim, which tells the tale of an immigrant man, Mohammad, seeking document approval from an indifferent desk clerk. While I needed a visa, Mohammad seeks a passport for his daughter. In this production, we have crafted two distinct yet interconnected worlds. The first world emphasizes the stark power disparity and Mohammad’s isolation within the cold, bureaucratic realm of rules and regulations. Act two, set 30 years later, follows Layla’s journey to reunite with her father and explore her heritage. Traveling from the US to Egypt, her voyage is portrayed through vibrant color, light, and fantastical elements, guiding the audience through her inner transformation as she discovers the magic that calls her home.”


(Scenic Designer: Yoon Bae, Rendering by Nathan Bowden; Left: Act 1, Right: Act 2)

While some key players are new to Texas, the Baba team is also composed of Arab-American theatre artists from within our own community. One such Dallas-based artist bringing this fantastical vision to life is Iranian-born costume designer Shahrzad Mazaheri. Mazaheri returns to Amphibian Stage after working on The Pleasure Trials (2022) and joins the Baba team on the heels of designing costumes for English at Berkley Rep in California. Mazaheri received her MFA in Design from Southern Methodist University and has been working professionally in the DFW Metroplex and beyond.

Onstage, Savannah Elayyach will portray Layla El Shaer. Elayyach is an actress who grew up, studied, and now works professionally in Dallas-Fort Worth. Her work has been seen at the Dallas Theater Center, Circle Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, and more. This is the first opportunity that Savannah has had in DFW to portray an Arab-American character.