My research centers on political theatre and drama in translation, with an emphasis on recent Arabic drama from Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. I am particularly interested in significant new dramatic works that have emerged during the “Arab Spring” uprisings of 2011 and their immediate aftermath. My research interrogates these plays as literary works, attending to themes, forms, and genre. More broadly, however, I situate these works in their social and historical contexts, looking to understand both the dramatists – their backgrounds, training, sources of inspiration, artistic and political objectives – and the dense ecosystem in which they operate, including social networks, artistic collaborations, cultural institutions, public venues, sources of funding, and audiences. To this end, I conduct ethnographic research on dramatists and theatre companies through structured interviews, informal conversations, and observation of performances, discussions, and rehearsals. I combine this embedded perspective with archival artifacts from performances such as program notes, photographs, videos, promotional materials, reviews, news articles, and interviews in various media outlets.
I co-edited, co-translated and wrote the introduction to the anthology Tahrir Tales: Plays from the Egyptian Revolution (Seagull Books), which received a Literature in Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Tahrir Tales is a collection of ten Egyptian plays, translated from Arabic, that offer popular perspectives on the jubilation, terror, hope and heartbreak of mass uprising. In my in-depth introduction to the anthology, I embed these plays within a rich tapestry of performance events during the recent uprising and contextualize them within a long history of anti-colonial and radically democratic protest theatre in Egypt.
As a Fulbright scholar in the Middle East and North Africa Regional Research Program I studied Palestinian theatre and performance. I am currently working on an anthology of new Palestinian drama, Theatre Between Home and Exile: New Plays from Palestine, co-edited with Marvin Carlson and Mas’ud Hamdan (Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications).
I have published reviews and articles in Modern Drama, The Voice and Speech Review, American Theatre Magazine, and presented at the ASTR, and VASTA conferences.