The World Premiere of Afsaneh Aayani’s Innominate 

May 5, 2022 

For immediate release 

Contact: Karina Pal Montaño-Bowers 

Marketing and Communications Director 

Karina.PMB@catastrophictheatre.com 713-522-2723 

The World Premiere of Afsaneh Aayani’s Innominate 

Runs May 27 through June 19 at MATCH

New Work Explores Love, Loss, Belonging, Identity, and the Complexities of Immigration 

(Houston, TX) Innominate is an experimental, devised, dance-theater performance created, directed, and designed by acclaimed local multidisciplinary artist Afsaneh Aayani. Dually inspired by Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica and Iran’s Green Revolution, Innominate combines puppetry, live original music, mixed media, and movement to create a surreal journey through Aayani’s personal experience as an immigrant from war-torn Iran. 

Caught in perpetual limbo on a twisted path to American citizenship and unable to return to her native Iran, Aayani remains a woman without a country.

Afsaneh Aayani

Catastrophic, along with its predecessor company Infernal Bridegroom Productions, has a rich history of commissioning and premiering new work from nationally renowned playwrights such as Suzan-Lori Parks, Brian Jucha, Lisa D’Amour, and Mickle Maher; Catastrophic core artists like Greg Dean, Troy Schulze, and Candice D’Meza; and co-artistic directors Tamarie Cooper and Jason Nodler.

Founding artistic director Jason Nodler says, “There is nothing that is more rewarding to us at Catastrophic than developing and producing new work, especially when that work is created by our core artists. Afsaneh’s aesthetic is unlike that of any creator we’ve produced in the past but is in perfect alignment with our own. Innominate is a vital new work by one of Houston’s most innovative creators.”

“The pandemic has given Catastrophic one very good thing and that is a deeper relationship with Afsaneh Aayani,” according to producing artistic director, Tamarie Cooper. “When she brought an earlier draft of Innominate to me seeking feedback, I was deeply moved by the piece and brought it to Jason. We leapt at the chance to fast-track its development for a full production on our current season. We are excited and honored by the opportunity to present the world premiere of her impactful work.” 

Innominate runs May 27-June 19, 2022, at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at matchouston.org or by calling the MATCH box office at 713-521-4533. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets to all performances are Pay-What-You-Can. (No performance Saturday, June 11.) This production contains mature subject matter and graphic violence. Not recommended for children under 13. 

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About the Creative Team

Afsaneh Aayani (creator, director, designer) is a Houston-based scenic designer, puppeteer, puppet maker, mask maker, voice actress, and artist with over 15 years of industry experience. She began her artistic journey in Iran where she developed her skills as a puppeteer and puppet maker, performed as a voice actor on television, and built her foundation as an artist. She completed her Bachelors in Puppetry at the Art University of Tehran and shortly thereafter performed in festivals internationally including in China, Poland, and Sri Lanka. After extensive experience in Iran, Afsaneh took a leap of faith and moved to the USA where she earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Scenic Design from the University of Houston in 2020. She has been engaged in exciting work around Houston including scenic design, costume design, props master, puppet and mask making, and puppet instructing. In the Spring of 2020, Afsaneh was awarded the USITT Scenic Design Award Sponsored by Rose Brand which recognized Afsaneh’s achievements and potential as a young scenic designer. Afsaneh continues to seek ways to express herself, her vision, to learn new things, and to create magic at every opportunity.

Adam Castan͂eda (choreographer) is a dancer, choreographer, and arts administrator living in Houston, Texas. He is the Executive and Artistic Director of The Pilot Dance Project, a non-profit arts organization with the mission of transforming and empowering communities through innovative dance and performing arts experiences. His programming has been funded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the BIPOC Arts Network & Fund, the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, Texas Commission on the Arts, EmcArts, the Morales Foundation, HoustonFirst, the Midtown Management District, Bunnies on the Bayou, the Woodlands Arts Council, and Dance Source Houston. He was chosen as one of Dance Source Houston’s 2018-2019 Artists-in-Residence, has recently led The Pilot Dance Project through EmcArts’ New Pathways program, served on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel, and was awarded a 2020 Support for Artists and Creative Individuals from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance for his evening-length dance work, Lazarus in the Promised Land. In 2021, he expanded The Pilot Dance Project’s programming to include the Texas Latino/a/x Contemporary Dance Festival, and Queer Fringe Houston. 

Hessam Dianpour (composer, performer) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Houston, Texas.  He was born in Tehran, Iran in 1985. Hessam began his musical journey at 7 years of age with Tombak (Persian percussion). Prior to his relocation to the United States, Hessam was mostly involved with composing scores for plays and movies in the Middle East and Europe. Today he produces music that aims to blur the lines between different cultures and eras. His affinity for world music, particularly Indian, Middle Eastern, and African, provide the inspiration for his latest work.

Creation, direction, scenic, puppetry, and properties design by Afsaneh Aayani, choreography by Adam Castan͂eda, original music composition and performance by Hessam Dianpour, costume design by Victoria Nicolette Gist, lighting design by Hudson Davis, sound design by Gage Barker, video design by James Templeton, stage management by Scott Lupton. Performed by Ashley Boykin, Lauren Burke, Hessam Dianpour, Hannah Dunning, Cynthia Garcia, Stormie Holmes, Karina Pal Montaño-Bowers, Natalie Nassar, Chad “Lyric” Williams.

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About The Catastrophic Theatre

Formed in 2007 by Jason Nodler and Tamarie Cooper, TCT is Houston’s premier creator and producer of new and underproduced work for the theatre. Catastrophic’s original work and innovative partnerships have drawn acclaim in local, national, and international theatre, music, literary, visual art, and even sports publications, including American Theatre, The New York Times, USA Today, The New Yorker, Theatre Journal, and Art in America, helping to bring global attention to Houston’s vibrant art scene.

All Tickets Pay-What-You-Can

Every Seat. Every Show. Since 2009The Catastrophic Theatre is committed to making its productions accessible to all who wish to attend. It is the only theatre in Houston that offers self-selecting Pay-What-You-Can ticketing for every single performance, ensuring that anyone can attend for a price they can afford, including for free.

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