Hamid Dehghani’s ‘English’

Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play English, a powerful, warm-hearted, and surprisingly funny play about four adult students in Iran studying for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), is getting an extraordinary production from director Hamid Dehghani that runs this summer at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. Hamid discusses how amazingly personal Toossi’s play is and the extraordinary theatrical conceit at the heart of it; how both the play and the production embrace questions of identity through humor; the difficulty of being as funny in English as you are in Persian; how the incredibly specific becomes wonderfully universal; and how working on this script with these actors allowed Hamid to clarify his truest artistic self. (Length 19:16) (PICTURED: Shadee Vossoughi and Nikki Massoud in the Goodman Theatre and Guthrie Theatre co-production of Sanaz Toossi’s English, directed by Hamid Dehghani. Photo by Liz Lauren.)