“One of the most FORCEFUL, PROVOCATIVE AND POLITICALLY RELEVANT show onstage in today’s theatre scene… sure to keep the audience viewer on the ‘jagged edge’ of one’s seat…This playwright and his story is TRANSPARENT ABOUT EVERYTING, from terrorists who kill in the name of God; to the notion that artifacts are blasphemous idols; to how hopeless and trapped Norton ultimately felt.

— Bonnie Priever,Curtain Up


“OUTSTANDING… emotional depth… complex and honest… a stellar cast and script that fuels an engaging and thoughtful narrative…What deems Infidel as an outstanding production? It breathes depth into the persons involved.Writer/director Christopher Vened creates an atmosphere that does not delve in heavy-handed politics. It is a situation that could happen to any of us. That is its power and leads to its ambiguous ending that this reviewer thought absolutely brilliant…The production attempts to answer the age-old question: What drives peaceful men to violence in the name of God? And it does a superb job in displaying a complex and honest reply.”

— Jarrett Christensen, Tolucan Times


FASCINATING… ELECTRIFYING… A window on a world few of us would ever see. Told with empathy and a lightness that allows us the space to truly consider and to make our own judgments on how violence on an industrial scale can induce even the most pious to revenge.

I came away with a far better understanding of the importance of human frailty within a movement.  How each of us are only a few steps and a few thousand miles away from picking up a book or a rock or a gun and using it to justify our pain.  And how beautiful faith can be…”

— Samantha Ronceros,


“INTERESTING INSIGHTS… The writer, having escaped from martial law Poland, wanted to humanize people and see things from all eyes.”

— Serita Stevens, LA Slash


DELIVERS… a worthwhile afternoon, leading to more thought and research afterward.”

— Edger German, Colorado Boulevard


Vened has done a very credible job as director, staging the action smoothly on a bare stage and focusing his actors adeptly.

— Iris Mann, Stage Raw


Production Picture

Infidel: a production photo of Ted Monte and Aneesha Madhok
Ted Monte and Aneesha Madhok
Michel Wakim & Ted Monte
Michel Wakim & Ted Monte
Ted Monte, Nima Jafari, Ronak Ghandhi, and Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari
Ted Monte, Nima Jafari, Ronak Ghandhi, and Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari
Ronak Ghandi & Aneesha Madhok
Ronak Ghandi & Aneesha Madhok
Edwin Scheibner as Ambassador Compte
Edwin Scheibner as Ambassador Compte
Ted Norton & Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari
Ted Norton & Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari
Nima Jafari & Aneesha Madhok
Nima Jafari & Aneesha Madhok
Ted Monte & Moses Norton Mask by Sean Cowelti
Ted Monte & Moses Norton
Mask by Sean Cowelti
The Bull of Heaven
Moses Norton as the Bull of Heaven
Moses Norton as the Bull of Heaven Mask by Sean Cawelti
Moses Norton as the Bull of Heaven
Mask by Sean Cawelti

An Interview with the Author



An Interview with the Author, CHRISTOPHER VENED




-What inspired you to write the play “Infidel”? 



-How so? 

Each time I hear on the news about yet another terrorist attack, I feel outraged by the senseless killing of innocent people. It is inconceivable why one would commit such atrocious crimes and how one could feel justified. But those terrorists do feel justified. They strap explosives on their bodies and detonate them in public places killing passersby whom they’ve never met and themselves while shouting, “Allah Akbar.”


-What is it about?

Those terrorists kill in the name of God. It puzzles me because I see in it, as most people do, a deed of pure evil.


-Why do they do it then? 

Well, I might say they hate life. They probably do, but this only explains the suicide, not the killing of others, particularly innocent bystanders. It seems more likely that they hate humanity. They choose death over life. It is unnatural.


-How have they gotten that way? 

Terrorists are indoctrinated by religion, in particular, by radical versions of Islam. They are brainwashed and by that dehumanized, unable to make a moral judgment anymore.


-Why would they believe such bloody nonsense? 

Mind you, these terrorists usually are young boys and girls. They are not conscious players. They got duped, manipulated, and sent to death by some unscrupulous clerics. Those clerics turn them into monsters, but we have to remember that they are also victims.


Do you have compassion for the terrorists? 

Yes, I do. And I would like to save them from eternal damnation by preventing them from becoming terrorists in the first place, before it is too late.


-How would you do that, by writing a play? 

Yes, it was the idea. I wanted to write a play that would liberate people from religious fanaticism and by that to humanize them.

As a dramatist, I feel obligated to resolve human conflicts. Terrorism is a modern plague. And terrorists are the monsters that oppress people. Having in mind the model of ancient Greek drama, I thought that the task of the dramatist is to check the plague and to resolve the monster’s puzzle to save humanity from evil.

However, I did not know how to do it. To condemn terrorism is not enough to write a play; it does not resolve the conflict but merely preaches to the choir. I didn’t want to write just a didactic play. Perhaps it would be right, but boring. There are already many plays and films made about terrorisms but it seems people are growing tired of watching them.



It doesn’t change anything. Terrorism does not stop. And people get use to it as if it were normal. But it is not normal. It is a crime against humanity. I wanted to get to the root of this evil. And change it.


-What was the moment that made you start to write Infidel? 

I saw a video on the Internet in which masked terrorists were destroying ancient sculptures with huge hammers on the religious ground that those sculptures were blasphemous idols. At the same time, they were videotaping it to show it on the Internet. It was a surreal spectacle. It was so absurd it didn’t seem real. But it was real.

Those barbarians were destroying art. It deeply offended my liberal sensibility. It shocked me. I always am when people are not able to appreciate great art, but to destroy it? How superstitious they are, I thought. If you let religious fanatics take over, as they do in Islam countries, they will destroy culture. And I felt personally attacked because religious fanaticism is not only in Islam, but is also on the rise in the West. These fanatics also want to destroy culture.

Watching that video I realized that there is an incongruity between religion and culture that leads to conflict. I wondered how this incongruity happened in the first place. When did culture and religion separate?

I intuitively felt that I had found the theme for my play. In addition, the theatricality of that video helped me to come up with the initial setup of the play and the predicament.


-What is the predicament of the play? 

“Islamic terrorists kidnap John Norton, an American anthropologist, from the Bagdad Museum. They hold him in a remote mountain cave for ransom. If no one pays, the kidnappers will behead him.”I started from there and then imagined the play.


– How did you imagine it? 

I imagined it as the Western man’s nightmare about being kidnapped by radical Islamic terrorists.


-Do you want to scare the audience? 

We all fear it now. It can happen to anybody.


-How would you define the genre of the play?

            On one hand I would define it as a thriller and on the other, as a discussion play.


How did you combine these two, seemingly mutually exclusive genres?

            “Infidel” is a discussion play with a blade of the knife at your throat.


What is the message of the play?

“Infidel” has an idealistic message to save humanity from religious superstition and barbaric terror in the name of Islam on the one hand, and from unscrupulous Western imperialism and warmongers, on the other.