A Transmedia Theatre Project
DRONE is a new play by Andrea Assaf, and a transdisciplinary, transmedia performance project integrating theatre, live music, emerging technologies, and artistic containers for public dialogue. It explores the drone as a metaphor for how we become desensitized to daily violence (domestic and global), the question of Moral Injury, and the effects of remote-control warfare on the human soul.
Available *NOW* for touring/booking:
DRONE: Testimonies & Music
A Concert Reading
from Surviving the Long Wars: Veteran Arts Summit & Triennial
March 18, 2023 @ Chicago Cultural Center
DRONE: Testimonies & Music features three characters from the play known as "The Survivors." These excerpts are based on the actual, real-life testimonies of survivors and witnesses of U.S. military drone strikes, written into multi-voice poetry by Andrea Assaf. The testimony poems are paired with an original sound score that explores droning in diverse music traditions -- from the U.S. South, to Southwest and Central Asia. Featured performers include Andrea Assaf, Ashley Wilkerson, and Anu Yadav as The Survivors; with vocalists Lubana Al Quntar, Kathy Randels, and Aida Shahghasemi; violinist Eylem Basladi, multi-instrumentalist Zafer Tawil, and more.
Check out these photos from performances at the Arab American National Museum (November 2022, photos by Houssam Mchaimech), and the Chicago Cultural Center (March 2023, photos by Gabi Vigueira), plus excerpts in the VIDEO section below!
DRONE: The Play
Written & Directed by Andrea Assaf
IN DEVELOPMENT: The play follows the story of a U.S. pilot who moves to Nevada for a new job, flying drones -- and what this job does to him, and his family. The pilot's story is juxtaposed with the poetic testimonies of The Survivors, who seem to speak to him through various forms of media and screens. As the pilot's mental health becomes increasingly affected, he escapes more and more to the Las Vegas nightlife, while his wife turns to faith for support, joining a local ministry (which unbeknownst to her, is preparing for the end of days). During an impulsive visit to the military base, she encounters a group of protestors, and a temple to the ancient Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet. As the play takes a turn toward tragedy, we meet a host of characters, including a retired Air Force General, a Sex Worker, a Preacher, and multiple Elvis Impersonators.
In January 2023, the artistic team of DRONE performed a special, invitation-only, staged reading of new work-in-progress at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) New Orleans. Performed by: Dora Arreola (Movement Director), Lyam B. Gabel, Ifrah Mansour, Heather Raffo, Kathy Randels, Nick Slie, Gerard Stropnicky, Ashley Wilkerson, and Anu Yadav. With live music by Lubana Al Quntar, Eylem Basaldi, Kathy Randels, Aida Shahghasemi, and Zafer Tawil.
from CAC New Orleans Staged Reading
January 28, 2023
Stay tuned for the premiere!
Photos & video at the CAC New Orleans were taken by Melisa Cardona (2023). Check out the VIDEO section below!
Content Warning: This performance contains text based on the actual testimonies of military drone strike survivors and witnesses. The content includes descriptions of war, death, and violence, which may be difficult for some audiences. We encourage self-care, in your choice to view the following video excerpts, or to attend performances.