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Yasmine Jaffri: A director comes home

By Ian Thibodeau
On September 14, 2011

  • Eleemosynary Director Yasmine Jaffri with actors Autumn Thiellesen and Stephan Nichols. The show opens Sept. 30

Yasmine Jaffri is not new to theatre – or to UDM, for that matter.

Jaffri is, however, directing her first play at UDM as a theatre professional.

"It is a true homecoming for me," Jaffri said.

"Eleemosynary" opens on Friday, Sept. 30, and Jaffri said that she has high hopes for her first big play.

"My hope for all six performances is to have full audiences filled with the student body," she said.

Jaffri has been acting and singing on stage since she was a child, and she was trained as an actor and director at UDM.

"I was studying at Boston University, and I came back to Michigan to work as a street performer at the Renaissance Festival for the summer," she said. "A student working there went to school at UDM, and told me about the [theatre] program. I came and saw a show, and was moved by how wonderful the actors were. I knew I wanted to study here, so I

Jaffri said that a mixture of passion and insanity, along with her talent on stage, pushed her to pursue a career in the theatre.

But the UDM Theatre Company is different for Jaffri from other companies she has worked for.

"It's a family – my theatre family, since I was trained here," she said. "They also have an incredible aesthetic and good taste when it comes to

The good taste of the UDM Theatre Company is helping production move smoothly.

Jaffri said that the show is coming along wonderfully and that she only hopes that students will come out and see the play.

"We are nothing without an audience; we do this for (the students)," she said.

"Eleemosynary" is a story about three generations of women and their relationships with one another.

Jaffri said that it is the best play she has ever read.

"In most plays the roles that women play revolve around men," she said. "This play is actually about the women in it and what they are doing and

Though the play is centered on women, Jaffri believes that both men and women will enjoy the show because it deals with issues that all families face.

Jaffri wants to tell the story in a way that is not only touching, but pleasing to the eye.

"I want my audience to understand and sympathize with the story we are telling," she said. "And, of course, I always like to do this in a tantalizing and visually pleasing

Though Jaffri takes her job seriously, she said that there is no point to doing what you love if you can't have fun doing it.

"I always want to enjoy the process of creating a show," she said. "But I can also be an intense person creatively and I expect the best and most inspired work out of everyone I work

She pushes her actors and actresses to enliven their roles, and bring life to the stage.

"I always feel most alive when I watch my actors soar when they perform," she said.

Jaffri also added more creativity to her own role with the production; she filmed some of the production to create commercials for the play.

"My master's degree is in film directing," she said. "I always like to push the boundaries and combine film and theatre when I

But all of the hard work that Jaffri and the UDM Theatre Company have put into this production will be futile without an audience.

"It's a truly beautiful play and it needs to be seen," Jaffri said. "Turn off the TV and come experience a living art in

 

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