ReOrient Festival 2023

by Katrin Arefy, Adam Ashraf Elsayigh, Yussef El Guindi, Arti Ishak, Hamed Sinno, Judith Boyajian Strang-Waldau

Six short plays. One unforgettable evening.

ReOrient Festival 2023

ReOrient 2023 celebrates the return of our signature program, an innovative and spirited festival of short plays from or about the Middle East. The dizzying line-up is diverse in content and style, with 6 plays selected from 113 submissions, highlighting a multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities. Think you know the Middle East? Think again!

“Humanity is at the core of ReOrient. If theatre is community, it starts here. If the goal of theatre is to expand our viewpoint, to enrich our knowledge, and to embrace empathy, then ReOrient hugely succeeds.” —Stark Insider

October 13, 2023 - November 4, 2023

Potrero Stage

1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107


Written by Katrin Arefy, Adam Ashraf Elsayigh, Yussef El Guindi, Arti Ishak, Hamed Sinno, Judith Boyajian Strang-Waldau

Directed by Sahar Assaf, Amal Bisharat, Susannah Martin, Adin Walker, Becca Wolff

Featuring Sofia Ahmad, Hamzeh Daoud, John Fisher, Neamah Hussein, Emily M. Keyishian, Rose McAvoy, AeJay Marquis Mitchell, John Pasha, Arielle Tonkin

Design Team: Carlos Aceves (Scenic), Maxwell Bowman (Lighting), Bahar Royaee (Sound), Briana Lisette Cardenas (Costume), Vincent Chau (Props)

Dramaturgy by Nakissa Etemad, Marina Johnson, Vidhu Singh, Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh

Publicity Photography by Amal Bisharat; Production Photography by David Allen and by Amal Bisharat

Six short plays, presented as one evening of theatre. Run time: 2h 15m, plus intermission


For content advisories and additional information visit our content guide.

Stamp Me

by Yussef El Guindi

Ahmed is waiting in an immigration line as his thoughts race, skid, and trip him up as he anticipates the things that might be asked, the papers he’ll have to show, and the personal information he might have to share. It is not a pretty stream of consciousness.


by Arti Ishak

Two former Arabic school rivals meet 20 years later when an unexpected reveal changes the nature of their reunion.

Data Queen

by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

Lebanese Gen-Z Partyboi Sam is in trouble with his tamer, older, White boyfriend Joel. But it’s really not his fault Joel went snooping, finding Sam’s FUCK FORM, with all the raunchy descriptions of his recent hookups. So here they are at ODYSSEY, San Francisco’s hottest, new Couple Therapy practice. Will Sam and Joel manage to fix this hot mess with the assistance of their overwhelmed but well-meaning counselor, Sharon… or is this all doomed for failure?

A Massacre

by Katrin Arefy

Discovering a pile of dead bodies in the middle of their office, work colleagues seem nonchalant to the carnage and instead become embroiled in petty arguments. Their repetitive discussions and responses are predetermined and non-negotiable.

Picture Bride

by Judith Boyajian Strang-Waldau

A young woman recounts sailing to America during the Armenian Genocide to marry a strange man on Ellis Island.

The Suicide Bomber

by Hamed Sinno

In a farce of a play within a play within a play, fractals of a writer’s identity battle over controlling the narrative. When they start eliminating each other, it becomes unclear who is writing whom.

This year’s ReOrient Festival marks our third collaboration with the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA). The partnership brings together two organizations that value challenging cultural preconceptions through provocative programming and dialogue, and is curated by LMDA’s Regional VP Metro Bay Area and Festival Lead Dramaturg Nakissa Etemad. The ReOrient Dramaturgy Team consists of a team of professional dramaturgs who bring their expertise in new play development, research, contextualization, and theatre writing. This year’s partnership augments the team to include a Publications Dramaturg to join the ReOrient Camp & Festival and write a feature article on ReOrient artists and the creative process that brings audiences behind-the-scenes (see link below, or read it at lmda.org). Be sure to check out the Dramaturgs’ program notes and playwright messages curated by the team in the Festival Program!

In addition to Golden Thread resident artist Nakissa Etemad, the ReOrient 2023 Dramaturgy Team includes Marina Johnson, Vidhu Singh, and Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh. We look forward to ongoing partnerships between our two organizations and collaborations between dramaturgs and Middle Eastern theatre artists for generations to come.

MENATMA Convening


October 28 & 29, 2023

As part of our ReOrient Festival and Forum, Golden Thread hosts the 4th annual national convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA) co-produced with Art2Action, Inc.

MENATMA amplifies the voices of Middle Eastern and North African theater makers and expands how stories from and about our communities are told on U.S. stages. The 2023 Annual Convening brings together SWANA artists, activists, and scholars from around the country for panel and roundtable discussions, workshops, artistic presentations, networking opportunities, and more. This year’s convening is co-sponsored by Silk Road Rising, Noor Theatre, New Arab American Theatre Works, Diaspora Arts Connection, and Theatre Communications Group THRIVE! Program. The Convening is made possible in part by generous support from the Ford Foundation.

Registration is free; advanced registration is required.

For more information, click here.

ReOrient Festival of Short Plays - Creative Team

Katrin Arefy

playwright, A Massacre

→ Bio

Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

playwright, Data Queen

→ Bio

Yussef El Guindi

playwright, Stamp Me

→ Bio

Arti Ishak

playwright, Closure

→ Bio

Hamed Sinno

playwright, The Suicide Bomber

→ Bio

Judith Boyajian Strang-Waldau

playwright, Picture Bride

→ Bio

Sahar Assaf

director, Stamp Me & A Massacre

→ Bio

Amal Bisharat

director, Picture Bride & A Massacre

→ Bio

Susannah Martin

director, Closure

→ Bio

Adin Walker

director, Data Queen

→ Bio

Becca Wolff

director, The Suicide Bomber

→ Bio

Nakissa Etemad

Lead Dramaturg, and dramaturg, Stamp Me & The Suicide Bomber

→ Bio

Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh, Ph.D. 

dramaturg, Closure & Picture Bride

→ Bio

Marina Johnson

dramaturg, A Massacre & Data Queen

→ Bio

Vidhu Singh, Ph.D.

Publications Dramaturg, & research dramaturg, The Suicide Bomber

→ Bio

Sofia Ahmad*

ensemble cast

→ Bio

Hamzeh Daoud

ensemble cast

→ Bio

John Fisher*

ensemble cast

→ Bio

Neamah Hussein

ensemble cast

→ Bio

Emily M. Keyishian

ensemble cast

→ Bio

Rose McAvoy

ensemble cast

→ Bio

AeJay Marquis Mitchell*

ensemble cast

→ Bio

John Pasha*

ensemble cast

→ Bio

Arielle Tonkin

ensemble cast

→ Bio

• • •


Mehrnaz Tiv, Mr. Perfect Isn’t Persian

Rita Akroush, 65 Joules

• • •

We are grateful for the support of the following institutions:

Golden Thread Productions

1695 18th Street, #C101
San Francisco, CA 94107
The ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone

Phone: 415.626.4061


Golden Thread Productions © 2015 - 2020
All Rights Reserved | Privacy Notice