Remains and Returns

By Novid Parsi    

Directed by Jackie Apodaca

Lead sponsors Kate & Jim Wolf-Pizor
Producing sponsors Betsy Bradshaw & Peggy Moore


In 2018, as an Iranian-American family talks about nothing and everything at once, the two middle-aged brothers—one who has remained near their childhood home, the other who returns—confront their elderly immigrant parents about the impending realities of old age. Thirty years earlier, in 1988, the parents confront their teen sons about the impending realities of adulthood and their own hopes for their children’s futures—until the family dynamic takes a sudden shift. Returning to 2018, Remains and Returns considers how we deny our familial, societal, and political pasts, and how our pasts endure.

Playwright Statement

I was inspired to write Remains and Returns as I noticed our culture’s collective amnesia around the intense trauma and violence that gay Americans have experienced when coming out. I felt an emotional whiplash seeing a culture that had been hostile to gay people now expressing support of sexual and gender difference—even if an ambivalent support. This indicated progress, of course, but also our penchant for denying our history. Americans are adept at this, and so are families.

In Remains and Returns, we come to see how one Iranian-American family elides its own traumatic past. And we come to see how the past persists, even in silence. The play explores how we do and don’t speak about who we are and what we’ve lived.


Zarah Adrianne Cury*
Ramin Alan Clark
Ash Amin El Gamal*
Ben Wiley Naman Strasser*
Stage directions and TV Voices Alexandra Szabo
*Appearing through an Agreement between ANPF and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


2018 and 1988.

Runtime: 1 hour 10 minutes, no intermission

Audience Reviews:

 from 1 Listener
Playwright Image

Novid Parsi (NOH-veed PAHR-see, he/him) is a playwright whose work has been produced or developed by Golden Thread Productions (San Francisco), The New Group (New York), Paines Plough (London), Playwrights Foundation (San Francisco), Queens Theatre (New York), and Silk Road Rising (Chicago), among others.

Most recently, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival has selected him for its Confluence Writers Project, which will culminate in a staged reading of a new play in spring 2023.

Novid’s plays have been recognized by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (two-time finalist and three-time semifinalist), the Jeff Awards (Best New Work nominee), the New American Voices Playwriting Festival (semifinalist), and the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (four-time semifinalist).

A son of Iranian immigrants, Novid grew up mostly in East Texas, earned degrees in literature from Swarthmore College and Duke University, and then spent years in England and Chicago. Novid and his husband live in St. Louis.

Director Image

Jackie Apodaca is the artistic director of Ashland New plays Festival. A Professor of Theatre and the Head of Performance at Southern Oregon University, Jackie has worked as an actor, director, and producer in theatre, film, and media, with companies such as Roundabout Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, National Geographic, Modern Media (Head of Production), Venice Theatre Works (Associate Artistic Director), and Shakespeare Santa Barbara (Producing Director). Jackie is the author of the book Answers from the Working Actor (published by Routledge) and spent more than a decade at Backstage Newspaper, where she was a Contributing Editor.

She earned her MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center Theatre Company and her BFA from UC Santa Barbara.

Locally, she has directed numerous productions for SOU, including The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertold Brecht, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, Marisol by Jose Rivera, Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, Seagull by Anton Chekhov, She Kills Monsters by Qi Nguyen, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (opening November 2022).

Jackie joined ANPF in 2016 as associate artistic director, regularly acting for the company, as well as directing the world premiere of Octavio Solis’ Lonesomes, and readings of The Night Climber, Go. Please. Go., Constellations, and The Bottle Tree.

Alan Clark
Alan Clark
Adrianne Cury
Adrianne Cury
Amin El Gamal By David Gabe Photography
Amin El Gamal
Wiley Naman Strasser
Wiley Naman Strasser
Alexandra Szabo
Alexandra Szabo

 from 1 Listener