- About me
- BURQ OFF!
- Paprika Productions
We want to tell you a story. A story in which dreams come true.
Back in October, we got a facebook message from an eager college student in Wisconsin, asking if we would ever consider bringing Burg Off! to a little liberal arts college in kind of the middle of nowhere. This message was from Evie, an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial student we had met over the summer. I wrote back, said sure, and hoped for the best without much expectation. In short, we get a lot of these messages: excited individuals with high hopes of bringing the show somewhere…and most of the time, they just don’t have the follow through. The emails stop coming, or they don’t realize what it takes, or they just can’t secure the funding.
This was not the case with Evie. From the moment our conversation began, Evie was unstoppable. Her unflagging passion made it possible for us to bring Burq Off! to Lawrence University, and her heartfelt care for sparking meaningful dialogue shaped the event into much more than a performance: it was a conversation. We are so grateful to this brilliant young woman for pursuing her dreams, and in so doing, helping ours come true.
We asked Evie to write a little bit about what inspired her to make this happen, and we want to share her story with you:
“I still remember my first experience of seeing Burq Off! very clearly. I was working as an intern at a theater festival and the team was doing a final dress before the show would open. The theater was empty except for a few other interns and Tara, I chose to sit in the front row, and found myself completely enthralled in the world Nadia created. One moment in particular I remember simply breaking down and realizing, this wasn’t Nadia’s story, this was mine. She captures the shame, guilt, and desperation of a daughter who failed her family with the simple statement: “I am a bad Muslim.” I grew up in Ohio, in a relatively progressive Christian household, and I certainly recognize the differences in my upbringing and Nadia’s, but in that moment I felt myself in Nadia’s place. “I am a bad Christian.” Or even more specifically, “I am a bad daughter.” Feeling the shame and guilt of not living up to the expectations of the people who raised me, of letting them down, but at the same time realizing that the truth they had given me as I grew up was no longer the truth I had found inside myself. I found the beauty of Burq Off in this moment. That universal realization that every child goes through when they either accept their parent’s truth as their own, or, with more difficulty, find their own truth separate from their upbringing. I believe this story has so much potency to empower so many different lives, especially college students who are in a very transitional time of defining their own identities. I worked hard to bring Burq Off! to my campus and the pay off was incredible. Students I had never spoken to came up to me after the show thanking me for bringing this show in. The talkback afterwards was filled with engaged questions and active conversation. I was so proud to be a part of such an effective theater production, and I would encourage any student who is looking to create diverse and active conversation, make the move and bring Burq Off! to your campus! “
Bringing this show to Lawrence was transformational for us as well as Evie, and it deepened our belief that one of the places this story needs to be told is in educational institutions all over the country. Maybe you know someone at a college or university? Maybe you know a place where this story could be told? If so, let us know. Let’s tell this story together.