Ayad Akhtar's 'The Who and the What' Opens at Milwaukee Rep

Sep 27, 2017

This week, the Milwaukee Rep opens Brookfield native Ayad Akhtar’s play, The Who and the What. It’s the third of four plays of the Pulitzer Prize winner to be staged at the Rep, and it explores complex familial relationships as they relate to life, religion, and the pursuit of happiness. May Adrales directs, and she's also the newest associate artistic director at the Milwaukee Rep.

The Who and the What speaks to one of her goals in her new job: making good theater, which she describes as, "Plays that truly extend the conversation of the questions they're trying to present, plays that really ask a question about the status quo, challenge the status quo, make us contemplate the world that we're living in."

While she admits that she doesn't necessarily agree with the perspectives of all the characters in the play, Adrales says they're written in a way that makes them sympathetic and relatable to audiences. 

She says, "He writes people that are fiercely passionate about their beliefs, and highly argumentative about them. I think he writes them with such compassion that you can't help - even if you don't agree with them, you can't help but be drawn into that charisma."