Thursday, August 20, 2009

Producing "I Heart Hamas"

It's not easy picking shows. What should be produced and why are difficult questions to answer. Those two questions usually translate out into these two:

1) Will it be a good show?


2) Will it sell tickets?

About a month ago, as Combined Artform and PianoFight were getting ready to announce the latest venue addition to the SF Solo Scene, Stage 205 at Off-Market, we were approached by Jennifer Jajeh about a potential run of her solo show, "I Heart Hamas."

Matthew Quinn, Dan Williams and I asked the two questions above and signed on as producers of the show before reading or seeing it, based largely on two factors:

1) The people involved (Jennifer Jajeh, writer and star; and Kamau Bell, director and collaborator)


2) The title, "I Heart Hamas"

We've known and worked with Jennifer for a couple years now, and have enjoyed and admired Kamau's work for some time as well (both are consummate pros and all around cool people), so it seemed a no-brainer that the two together would cook up a pretty kickin' product.

The question of ticket sales remains, but clearly, we're betting sales will be great, and here's why:

1) The, to say the least, intriguing title, will catch the eye of press and public alike

2) Running the show alongside Brian Copeland's venerable "Not a Genuine Black Man" (premiering on Stage 205 on Fri and Sat evenings Starting Sept. 18) will fuel sales for both shows

and most importantly,

3) Having had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal run of the show, I can say confidently that the product will be nothing short of what we anticipated - excellent

Whatever you think the title reveals about the show itself, "I Heart Hamas" does not come down hard on any one side or specific issue, rather, through Jennifer's recounting of her life experience, it explores how someone fairly removed from the situation can easily get caught up in the frenzy while poking fun at the process along the way.

So, will the show sell crazy tickets? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. But I know that the people who do buy tickets will be in for a relatable, entertaining and thought provoking night. And hopefully, those people will tell their friends.

And they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends ...

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