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  • Atlas Performing Arts Center 1333 H Street Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

SURFACING (German title: AUFTAUCHEN) features three characters living a life in captivity: a female refugee (A) hiding underground, a kidnap victim (B) locked up in a basement, and a young man (C) imprisoned in his own home due to the threat of blood revenge. Each is trapped, unable to surface or take part in everyday life. The play explores their mental states, survival strategies, and the way their minds work through cycles of hope, fear, anger, and desperation.

Julya Rabinowich, born in 1970 in St. Petersburg, Russia, is a novelist, playwright and painter. At age seven, her family emigrated to Vienna, Austria, an event she describes as being “uprooted and repotted”. After studying at the University of Vienna to become a translator, Rabinowich continued her work in Fine Arts at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, focusing on painting and philosophy. Having worked as a translator for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants in Austria for over a decade, her texts explore the themes and experiences of refugees.  Challenging the populist narrative of the “refugee crisis” which blames migrants for growing economic, political, and social problems and characterizing refugees as potential terrorists, Rabinowich describes the migrant experience as one of trauma, persecution, and displacement. With her unique style coined as “transnational poetics”, Rabinowich has become a major critical voice in contemporary German-speaking literature.

Surfacing premiered in its German original title Auftauchen at Vienna Volkstheater in 2010.  In the U.S., the play was presented as a staged reading in English (translation by Karin Rosnizeck) produced by Forum Theatre as part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival 2018. In July 2019, Expats Theatre produced the play at the DC Capital Fringe Festival, directed by Karin Rosnizeck and with a choreography by Erica Rebollar. Expats Theatre’s current production of Surfacing opening September 12 at Atlas Performing Arts Center is the first full-run production on a U.S. stage.

When: Thursday, September 12 – Sunday, September 29, 2019 (Opening Night: September 12 at 8:00 pm / Regular Showtimes: Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm)
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab I, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, D.C.
Ticket:,  special embassy ticket discount ($20) with code 20Artist