A play by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef
Directed by Diana Lobb
Auditions: September 6–8, 2023
Performances: November 10–12, 17–19, and 24–26, 2022
It is November 2008, President Barack Obama is elected, and collective optimism for a more tolerant post-Bush world spreads to Canada – and to the backroom of Salim’s Falafel Shoppe in Toronto. There, Ali Hakim and Ali Ababwa, refugee entertainers from the fictitious, war-torn country of Agraba, write a stage play to celebrate the new president’s message of “hope and change.” But the premiere of Yo Mama, Osbama! (or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Half-Black President) halts abruptly when a RCMP constable arrives at the theatre and arrests the pair for suspected financial ties to the Agrabanian People’s Front, an alleged “terrorist organization” on the Canadian government’s watch list. Hilarious comic, slapstick, and exuberant, the play raises serious questions about the cost for some when we endeavour to protect the “freedoms” of others.
Tickets are on sale now! Performances are on November 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. Seating is first-come, first serve. Doors open at 7:30PM; the show starts at 8:00PM each evening. The show is presented with no intermission, with an expected run time of about 90 minutes.
Audience masking is required at all performances. The November 11th, 19th and 24th performances will be presented with heightened restrictions: in addition to masking, audiences will be limited to 50% capacity and there shall be no eating or drinking in the auditorium.
Content warning: This performance contains profanity, racial slurs, and puppets.
- Prashant Das as Ali Ababwa
- Oluwakayode Sodunke as Ali Hakim
- Jeffrey Song as Hong Kong Lee
- Hiyam Mahrat as Sukhivender (Suki) Dhaliwal
- Meher Kaur as understudy for Sukhivender (Suki) Dhaliwal
- Graham A. Yeates as the announcer and the voice of Tom Butler
- Diana Lobb, Director
- Paige Gugeler, Stage Manager
- Aila Muzio and Katherine Newell, ASMs
- Min Ling and Katherine Schill, producers
- Kevin Fong, technical director
- Salma Baheyeldin, set build lead
- Matthew Canning, puppet master
- Sheila Kraehling, costume manager
- Burak Ilhan, props master
- Michelle Sterba, costume designer
In the media
The Community Edition: KWLT opens with production of Ali & Ali
About the characters
First posted August 23–26, 2022
Here’s a quick overview of the four characters in “Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings”. We’ll take a closer look at each of them in our next few posts.
Suki is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, acting on behalf of Immigration Canada who is investigating Ali & Ali under PEIU (The Provision for the Expulsion of Immigrant Undesirables Act). As a modern law enforcement officer, she understands the importance of bureaucracy.
Hong Kong is Ali & Ali’s actor. He plays many parts, including their defence in their deportation hearing: in addition to being an actor, he did some temping at a legal firm.
Ali & Ali are the creative geniuses behind such Agrabanian hit shows as May the Blood of the Infidel Run Thick Through Streets of Our Enemies, which ran for seven seasons in Agrabanian prime time and earned Three Golden Goats! Some may suspect them of promoting terrorism, some may suspect them of plagiarism – their hit was based on the U.S. TV show 24, where Jack Bauer has 24 hours to torture 17 guys to save the free world. They stayed very close to the 24 template. Suspiciously close.
The Vision for the Production
First posted August 31, 2022
We had a chance to sit with Diana (virtually) and talk to her about Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings, which she will be directing for our 2022-2023 season opener. Here’s a quick look into her mind about this piece and why you should be excited about it.
Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings was first produced under the title Ali & Ali 7: Hey Brother, Can You Spare Some Hope and Change? by Neworld Theatre and presented in association with Cahoots Theatre Company at The Cultch (Vancouver East Cultural Centre) in April 2010 and subsequently presented at Factory Theatre in Toronto, in October 2010.
Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings is produced by permission of the Playwrights and Marquis Literary (Colin Rivers): www.MQlit.ca.