A Thousand Strange Places: Anthony Shadid and the Middle East

A workshop production of a new play by Robert Myers about Lebanese-American journalist Anthony Shadid will premiere at Yale University on April 29 (8pm) and April 30 (7pm) at the Macmillan Center. On the afternoon of April 30 there will be a panel of prominent journalists from The New York Times and The Washington Post organized by Rami Khouri, who knew Shadid, who will discuss his life and work. The play will also be presented at Open Jar Studio, 1601 Broadway, #11A, New York, NY, on May 2 (7pm). The play, which is based in part on the Shadid papers housed at Jafet Library at the American University of Beirut, will be produced by the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale, AUB’s Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Global Engagement Initiative. The play will be directed by Kirsten Sanderson.


Anthony Shadid, center, with residents of Cairo in 2011. Photo by Ed Ou for The New York Times

The Theatre of Sadallah Wannous

The Theatre of Sa’dallah Wannous

A Critical Study of the Syrian Playwright and Public Intellectual was published in May 2021 by Cambridge University Press. The volume was edited by Robert Myers and Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, Associate Professor of English at AUB. The study, which contains articles by Marvin Carlson (CUNY), Edward Ziter (NYU), Margaret Litvin (Boston University), Zeina Halabi (AUB), Nada Saab (LAU), Sahar Assaf (AUB) and other renowned scholars and artists, is the first book in English to provide a clear sense of the significance and complexity of the Syrian playwright’s life and work. In this podcast of “Professors at Work” hosted by Rami Khouri, Robert Myers discusses Sa’dallah Wannous and the book.

Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader,

from Yale University Press’s Margellos World Republic of Letters, is an English-language collection of plays and essays by Syrian playwright Sa’dallah Wannous, one of the Arab world’s most significant playwrights, writers, and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Co-edited and co-translated by LAU Associate Professor of literature Nada Saab, the volume received first prize for the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding in the category of translation from Arabic to English. It was also selected as the #1 book of literary translation from Arabic in 2019 by Al Jazeera

Sentence to Hope
Latin America, al-Andalus and the Arab World

Latin America, al-Andalus and the Arab World: Essays on Cultural Transmission and Artistic Reimaginings

An homage to María Rosa Menocal, will be published this year by AUB Press. The volume, which is co-funded by CASAR, traces the routes of cultural transmission from the East, through medieval Iberia to Latin America. Contributors include major internal scholars from the fields of literature, language, history, translation and theater, including Christina Civantos, Luce López-Baralt, Emilio Gónzalez Ferrín, Michel Sleiman, Jason Weiss, and Enass Khansa. The volume will serve as the basis for a summer institute in August 2021, funded by the U. S. Department of Education and organized by Susan Douglass, Education Outreach Director at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown.

Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant, November 2018

Published by Brill, is a collection of plays and companion essays about the plays and playwrights. The volume, written and edited by Robert Myers and Nada Saab, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies at Lebanese American University, includes their translations of three of the collection’s five plays, which are by ‘Isam Mahfouz, Muhammad al-Maghut, Sa’dallah Wannous, Jawad al-Asadi and Ra’ida Taha.

Modern and Contemporary Political Theater
Blood Wedding

Rita Ibramhim, Marcel Bou Chakra, Rita Barotta

Blood Wedding, April 2018

Produced by Robert Myers and directed and translated by Sahar Assaf, in the Lebanese village of Hammana. The production was the opening event of the international conference on “Latin America, al-Andalus and the Arab World” at the American University of Beirut, organized by Robert Myers and sponsored by the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR).

World Premiere of King Lear in Arabic, December 2016

al-Malik Lear [King Lear]. Producer of World Premiere of Shakespeare’s play in Levantine vernacular Arabic. Produced with AUB’s 150th Anniversary Committee in conjunction with the Faction Theatre, London. With Roger Assaf as King Lear. Directed by Sahar Assaf and Rachel Valentine-Smith. Masrah al-Madina, Beirut, 2016.

Roger Assaf as Lear. Rifaat Torbey as Gloucester. Photo: Alexy Frangieh

Umanned | March 11-27, 2016

Unmanned, a play about two drone pilots – an aging former fighter pilot from Alabama who is afraid to fly and a young video game whiz from Cleveland who has never been in a plane – premiered on March 11, 2016 in Taos and on March 18, 2016 in Santa Fe at Teatro Paraguas. The play featured performances by actors Jacquelyn Cordova and Bruce McIntosh, both of Metta Theatre in Taos, as well as live music by the celebrated Chicago-based musician Michael Miles.

World Premiere of The Rape | March 18-28, 2015

The English-language version of The Rape, by Syrian playwright Sa’dallah Wannous, translated by Robert Myers and Nada Saab, directed by Sahar Assaf, and produced by Robert Myers, AUB and LAU, premiered at LAU’s Irwin Theatre on March 18, 2015. Written in 1989 and set in the West Bank during the first Intifada, the play treats themes such as the use of sabotage against civilians, colonial rule and the use of rape as tool of interrogation. It is one of the only contemporary plays from the Arab world that includes a sympathetic Israeli character. Event details here.

Marcel Bou Shakra, Bshara Attala, May Ogden Smith

Twilight Country March 27th and 28th, 2015

A play by Robert Myers, set in 1948, about two women, one a liberal white southern writer, another an African-American mother of a recently returned World War II veteran from West Virginia. They meet in Asheville, North Carolina in 1948 and help each other overcome recent traumas by reading Dante’s Inferno together. The play was read at the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, organized by David Shumway of Carnegie-Mellon University, March 27 and March 28, with the renowned actors Kathleen Chalfant and Anita Dashiell-Sparks.

Rituals of Signs and Transformations

Written by Sa’dallah Wannous, translated by Robert Myers and Nada Saab, directed by Sahar Assaf, and produced by Robert Myers and AUB, Rituals of Signs and Transformations received its English-language world premiere at Babel Theatre in Beirut in December 2013. The translation, which was supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, received readings at CUNY’s Martin Segal Theatre Center, Silk Road Rising, and Adelphi University with the New York Theatre Workshop. The play appears in Four Plays from Syria: Sa’dallah Wanous, edited by Marvin Carlson.

Steve Wakeem