Canopy Theatre in partnership with La Scéne Theatre from Aixe-en-Provence, France, launches its inaugural season with Syrian playwright Fares al Zahaby’s daring monodrama, Mawlana. Starring Syrian TV and Film actor, Nawar Bulbul, Mawlana opens at the Vortex on Manor Rd. at 8pm October 4 and runs through October 7.

This courageous play calls into question religious ideologies and doctrines through the eyes of a young man named Abed. Set in the iconic Damascene neighborhood near the Sheikh Mohy ad-Din Ibn Arabi Mosque and Shrine, Bulbul communicates the story of Abed who struggles to find his place amongst competing religious doctrines, Western influences, and his own inner desires. Along the way, al Zahaby treats the audience to a colorful palette of characters from the neighborhood, all of whom Bulbul plays masterfully. Each person Abed crosses in this journey propels him towards his dangerously liberating discovery.

Mawlana will be performed in the lyrical and poetic colloquial Damascene dialect of Arabic, but will feature English subtitles during the performance. Not only will Mawlana give Austin audiences a glimpse into the life of someone growing up in late 20th century Damascus, but it also will provoke serious questions about adherence to the human created institution of religion.