Donate Now
The Lark Timeline

The Middle Eastern American Writers Lab Launch!

The Middle Eastern American Writers Lab Launch!

With new work by Melis Aker, Leila Buck, Gamze Ceylan, Kareem Fahmy, Mona Mansour, Stav Palti-Negev, Hadi Tabbal, and Sanaz Toossi

Co-hosted by Maia Directors*

Join us for a special Studio Retreat celebrating the launch of the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at The Lark!
This inaugural, two-day event will feature excerpts from plays-in-process, generated by the writers in the Lab, whose aim is to complicate the narrative of Middle East and Middle East American experience. Designed to provide a platform for writers of Middle Eastern descent and build a community around their work, these evenings invite audiences to be part of the larger process of creating a movement towards increased Middle Eastern inclusion in the arts. 
Excerpts will be performed by: Nicole Ansari, Leila Buck, Helen Cespedes, Gamze Ceylan, Nathan Darrow, Sevan Greene, Abraham Makany, Laith Nakli, Victoria Nassif, Stephen Stocking, Hadi Tabbal, and Tiffany Villarin


Monday, October 7

7:00 – 7:45pm: A panel conversation on the state of Middle Eastern American theater, hosted by Maia Directors
8:00 pm – 9:30pm: Excerpt Readings  
by Gamze Ceylan​
directed by Shadi Ghaheri​

Present day. A mother, a daughter. A public bathroom in southern Turkey, Konya. Not that far from once upon a land of ISIS.

by Sanaz Toossi​
directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

It’s 1984, and two men in a Tehran rug shop are doing their own choreography to Freddie Mercury as the Iran-Iraq War— and the beauty and terror of men— rages around them.

by Kareem Fahmy​
directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

A quiet library that straddles the border of the U.S. and Canada becomes an unlikely crucible for five people from around the world. When an Iranian family, separated from one another by the "Muslim ban," use the library as a meeting place, the head librarian, a U.S. border patrol officer, and a local teenager have to choose between breaking the law and saving themselves.

by Leila Buck
directed by Kareem Fahmy

Sheherezade Brown returns from the West Bank to her Lebanese American family, pregnant by a Palestinian man. As she struggles to convince her government and her family to let her love in, her grandmother’s dementia worsens, and boundaries blur between Sherry’s dreams and her grandmother's memories, time and place, now and then, truth and fiction. An intimate, playful exploration of who we let in to our stories, families, and hearts, and how those choices shape who we are as people, communities, and nations.

Tuesday, October 8

7:00 pm – 8:30pm: Excerpt Readings 
8:30 – 9:30pm: Food, music, and conversation
by Hadi Tabbal​
directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian​
Tracy, a third-generation Lebanese consultant from Patterson, New Jersey, is having an early life crisis: His friend and co-worker Christian got promoted to partner, but he didn’t. Samantha, his childhood friend and Christian’s wife, is struggling with herself in her own marriage. In a moment of Millennial folly, Tracy and Sam embark on a spontaneous trip to Beirut looking for a spark of insight, perspective, and spirituality, but instead they find themselves stuck under the Israeli bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. With the help of their friend Ziad, Sam and Tracy will try to escape from a nightmare that will refuse to be left behind.

by Stav Palti-Negev
directed by Shadi Ghaheri​
In a small room, a team of Palestinian and Jewish actors gather to work on a new play. When a war starts outside, alarms and disagreements leak into the room threatening to tear the group apart.
by Melis Aker​
directed by Kareem Fahmy​
Roma, Canan, and Kerim ("Curly") run a gas station in an unnamed Turkish border town, expecting a vicious earthquake to hit any minute. When news of children sneaking in the Turkish border via petrol tanks breaks out on top of an unruly encounter, the three are faced with a dilemma that might sacrifice a life.

by Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour​
directed by Kareem 
Baghdad, 1975. Invited to teach in a city steeped in the history of great scientific discoveries, hotshot physicist Kamal leaves the Ivy League and finds himself in a surreal landscape colored by revolution, intrigue, deception, and of course, great potential. Caught between the desire to contribute to a burgeoning scientific community and a firm commitment to science as a tool of non-violent liberation, he is entangled between the world as it is, and the world as he wishes it to be.

*Maia Directors is a consulting group supporting organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Founded by Kareem Fahmy, Evren Odcikin, Megan Sandberg-Zakian, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Maia Directors advocates for the inclusion of MENASA artists and stories as a vital part of the American cultural conversation.
More about Melis Aker
Winter Writers' Retreatdivider
More about Kareem Fahmy
A Distinct Society
A Distinct Societydivider
More about Mona Mansour
The Vagrant Trilogy
Project on Tyranny: A Playwrights' Panel Event
We Swim, We Talk, We Go to Wardivider
More about Hadi Tabbal
Icarus in Berytusdivider