New Arab American Theater Works is excited to bring together over 30 members of the local and national Arab and Muslim American writing community to showcase writing and discuss issues of pertinence to our community through a presentation of an inaugural showcase of writers who participated in our first Playwrights Incubator Program.
The April 1-2 showcase will consist of 8 individual plays that have come out of this process, and will include audience talk backs by some of the most exciting writers of today. Each session will consist of 45 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of discussion with the playwright and a community moderator. Work will be performed by local SWANA community members.
Saturday, April 1
by Ahmed Ismail Yusuf
Conscience Café is about a Somali café owner whose indignation about Palestinian plight leads him to attempt to awaken grassroots’ awareness for their cause. But his effort is constrained by another crisis: that of his homeland Somalia and a colleague of his who thinks that his priority is misplaced as well as a world that fails to stand with the Palestinians. He is pained by the curse of collective punishment that takes place on Palestine on a regular basis, specifically housing demolitions.
by Ifrah Mansour
Confessions (or the Secret Play for Secretly Liberal Muslims)
by Nabra Nelson
Fatima, Layla, Farah, and Salima are living their best twenty-somethings lives in Michigan, other than all the secrets that they’re keeping from each other and their families. Secrets like: a secret girlfriend, a secret fiancé, being too conservative, being too liberal, and literally being in the closet (figuratively of course). This hilarious and heartfelt romp will leave you laughing, crying, and even praying!
There’s no stopping the commodity food fetishism of the world’s largest fast food chain. But how do you negotiate the Westernization of an identity with the feeding of the hungry?
Yaad Hai? (Do You Remember?)
by Aamera Siddiqui
Seema wakes up and doesn’t recognize anything. There are locks on the doors and there’s no way out. Where is she? Who are these strangers keeping her here? Why doesn’t she understand them? As the play unfolds we learn how Seema has become
a prisoner in her own life.
Sunday, April 2
by William Nour
Rosette is a young Palestinian woman, born in 1948, the year of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Her village destroyed and half her family are in refugee camps in Lebanon. It is now 1964. Displaced and living in Haifa with what is left of her family, she is coming of age, questioning her identity, her place in the family and society. Will she follow her sister into an arranged marriage or can she pursue her dreams in the city away from the social constraints of the small village life?
by Sana Wazwaz
After protesting a Zionist group’s “Birthright Israel Trip”--a free trip to Israel for Jewish students–Aida Shalabi and her university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter are suspended and smeared for alleged anti-semitism. But this semester, SJP returns from suspension, and now they’re seeking to return somewhere else–to organize the first ever Birthright Palestine trip. Birthright Palestine follows a group of Palestinian-American students on a quest to return to their precious homeland, against an extensive Zionist campaign to keep them away.
by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh
It is 2019 and Diyala just moved from Syria to Williamsburg, Virginia on a student visa.
It is also 1619 and Agnes just married the Lord of the Virginia Company in Jamestown, who happens to be sleeping with a Native American man. Agnes and Diyala are worlds apart. Yet, something binds them. Jamestown/ Williamsburg tells the story of the voyages and traumas of two immigrant women.
PLAYWRIGHTS INCLUDE: Adam Elsayigh, Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, Ifrah Mansour, Nabra Nelson, William Nour, Aamera Siddiqui, Sana Wazwaz, SEVAN
READING DIRECTOR: Sherrine Azab
Sherrine Azab (she/her) is the Co-Director of Detroit-based theater ensemble A Host of People. She holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and a postgraduate certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University. Other select credits include: 2008 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, 2017-18 UMS Artist in Residence, 2018 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow. She has also worked with organizations such as: the Arab American National Museum, Ping Chong + Co. (NYC), The Foundry Theatre (NYC), Target Margin Theater (NYC), and the Network of Ensemble Theaters.
ACTORS: Noor Adwan, Sayali Amarapurkar, Ankita Ashrit, Madhu Bangalore, Hanen Bouchrit, Joey Haddad, Jawdy Obeid, aegor ray, Laila Sahir, Mohamed Sheik, Nathaniel TwoBears
MODERATORS: Layla Asamarai, Joseph Farag, Safy Farah, Taher Herzallah, Khaldoun Samman
PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Kathryn Haddad