Alaudin Ullah ’22 Brings Play 'Dishwasher Dreams' to The Old Globe

Lillian Mottern
September 15, 2023

Playwriting alumnus Alaudin Ullah ’22 will bring his one-person, multi-character play Dishwasher Dreams to The Old Globe this fall for the play’s West Coast premiere. Previously produced at Hartford Stage in 2021, Dishwasher Dreams is considered a companion piece to Ullah’s documentary, In Search of Bengali Harlem, which explores Ullah’s experience growing up in Spanish Harlem with his Bangladesh-born parents.

Imbued with the singular sense of humor that came to define Ullah’s previous work in standup comedy, Dishwasher Dreams places a specific focus on Ullah’s relationship with his father, who moved to New York from Bangladesh in the 1930s. The play questions and explores the concept of the American dream as it maneuvers through its various settings of 1930s colonial India, 1970s Spanish Harlem, and present-day Hollywood. 

The Globe’s production of Dishwasher Dreams is directed by Obie-award-winning director Chay Yew, who directed the Hartford Stage production, as well as a production at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, and features live music by renowned tabla percussionist and composer Avirodh Sharma. The play first premiered at The Public Theater’s New Work Now! Festival, and Ullah was subsequently awarded a fellowship in the Public’s Emerging Writers Group, in the group’s 2010-11 inaugural year. 

Ullah has characterized the play as reflective of his experience coming of age as an artist, as well as his father’s experience moving to the United States. In an interview with New City Stage he said, “I really thought I had an idea of what being a comedian, going out to Hollywood was, and living that dream. And then the reality was different. I think my father also felt the same way. [...] when he came [to America], it was a different reality. I think [Dishwasher Dreams is] almost about, what is the reality of America, versus this sort of myth of America.”

Dishwater Dreams runs from September 16 to October 15 at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in San Diego, California. Tickets can be purchased online

Alaudin Ullah is a comedian, actor, and playwright. He is the son of one of the first Bengali Muslim men to settle in Harlem. Ullah’s three-act play Halal Brothers centers on the interactions between African American and Bengali Muslims in a Harlem halal butcher’s shop on the day of Malcolm X’s murder in 1965. This emotionally charged ensemble drama is in development for stage production. His film credits include co-starring in American Desi and several voices for the award-winning animated feature Sita Sings the Blues. He is co-director of In Search of Bengali Harlem, which has won several awards in film festivals across America including the DocNYC Special Mention Jury award. Ullah’s ongoing dedication is to creating stories and characters that counter, challenge, and correct the misperception of South Asians and Muslims.