ALBUQUERQUE – Peace among Muslims, Christians, and Jews? It could never happen, right? Well, it did happen once, in Spain, for several hundred years. Why couldn’t it happen again? Anne García-Romero's new play Paloma imagines this very possibility, and invites audiences to join in a conversation about peaceful coexistence today.

Camino Real Productions, LLC and the National Hispanic Cultural Center are honored to produce the world premiere of this contemporary play inspired by a medieval Spanish Muslim treatise on love. Paloma will be presented at the NHCC from July 20 to August 5, 2012 before moving on to Santa Fe. Tickets are $14 and $17, and are available at the NHCC Box Office, at 505-724-4771, or online at Group rates are available. The NHCC is located at 1701 4th Street SW on the corner of 4th Street and Avenida César Chávez.

Ms. García-Romero, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Notre Dame University, describes her play as follows: "Ring of the Dove, a remarkable eleventh century Muslim Spanish treatise on love by Ibn Hazm, moved me with its elegant, witty and intricate considerations of romantic relationships. Inspired by Ibn Hazm's text, I wrote my play Paloma as a response to the post 9/11 climate in this country. The notion of convivencia intrigues me. How did Muslims, Christians and Jews coexist peacefully in eleventh century Spain when religious intolerance persists in present day U.S. society?

"Paloma explores the lives of Ibrahim, a Moroccan-American and practicing Muslim, who falls in love with Paloma, a woman of Puerto Rican descent and nominal Catholic, while they study ancient Muslim Spain at New York University in 2003. The couple soon travels to Spain where they grapple with their religious differences. The play also toggles between various months in 2004 as Ibrahim and Jared, his friend and lawyer who practices the Jewish faith, face legal ramifications resulting from Ibrahim and Paloma's relationship. In a way, this play is my prayer for greater coexistence in our present age."

Director Gil Lazier says, "With economy and grace, Anne García-Romero has crafted a gentle romance against the harsh backdrop of religious and ethnic conflicts. The story of Paloma and Ibrahim is so compelling and rich that we are reminded of those other romances of literature where tradition, racial strife, and social and religious barriers conspire to separate young lovers who belong together. Perhaps the biases that prevent the Montagues and Capulets from supporting their children's love are not so different from those of the Ahmed and Flores families. So as this play speaks of today's issues with a current voice, and searches for a time in history when these problems might have been resolved with equanimity, we are prompted to understand a little better our own biases and those of our neighbors."
This professional production stars Lena Armstrong as Paloma Flores, Abraham Jallad as Ibrahim Ahmed, and Ron Weisberg as Jared Rabinowitz. It is directed by Gil Lazier with set and lighting design by Richard Hogle and costume design by Jaime Pardo.

Manuela Ceballos will give a pre-show talk on "la convivencia" before each Sunday matinee of Paloma, and patrons can stop off on their way to the theatre at the Torreón, open to visitors on Sunday afternoons. There, Frederico Vigil’s monumental fresco “Mundos de Mestizaje” features beautiful images of two other philosophers from 11th century Córdova, Moses Maimonides and Averroes.

On Saturday, August 4, the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice invites audience members to a Dialogue for Peace at 1:30 pm in the balcony lobby of the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts to discuss the issues of peaceful coexistence Paloma raises. We invite you to become part of the conversation. Salaam. Pax. Shalom.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Hispanic art and culture at the local, state, national, and international levels.