Staged Reading: "The Strangest" by Betty Shamieh Followed by Discussion with James Schamus

Wed, February 27, 2013 6:30 pm at Miller Theatre, Columbia University

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"The Strangest": A Staged Reading by Betty Shamieh followed by Discussion with James Schamus

Midway through Camus’s classic "The Stranger", an unnamed Arab is killed. Leaping from this moment and working backwards through possible histories of tangled romance, ethnic conflict, and random violence, playwright Betty Shamieh has crafted a new play inspired by this unknown character. Infused with elements of Middle Eastern oral storytelling traditions and dance, The Strangest is an absurdist murder mystery about two Algerian brothers who vie for the love of the same woman. Their bitter rivalry ends with one brother being inexplicably gunned down by a French stranger.

Following the reading, the writer and director will be joined in discussion by moderator James Schamus.

Free and open to the public. First come, first seated.

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Co-sponsored by
The Heyman Center for the Humanities
Columbia University School of Arts
The Center for Palestine Studies
Alwan for the Arts
Noor Theatre



Betty Shamieh, Playwright: Shamieh is a playwright, author, screenwriter, and actress. She is the author of fifteen plays. As a playwright, her off-Broadway premieres are The Black Eyed (New York Theatre Workshop) and Roar (The New Group), which was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick and is currently being taught at universities throughout the United States.

May Adrales, Director: Adrales is a freelance director based in New York city, working primarily with new plays and new play development. She helmed the world premieres of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them at Actors Theater of Louisville, Mary at The Goodman Theatre and In This House at Two River Theater Company. Recent and upcoming Productions include Katori Hall's Whaddabloodclot(Williamstown Theater Festival); Katori Hall's The Mountaintop (Milwaukee Rep); Stefanie Zadrevec'sElectric Baby (Two River Theater) and David Henry Hwang's Dance and the Railroad (Signature Theater).Farah's music often expresses the reality of war and raises awareness for the urgent need for peace. In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, Farah was invited to perform at the 2012 United Nations Humanitarian Awards in New York under the patronage of HE Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. In addition, Farah's music was played before the United Nations Security Council before passing a legislation regarding the genocide in Darfur.

James Schamus, Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University & CEO, Focus Features: Schamus is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, producer, and film executive. His long collaboration as writer and producer for Ang Lee has resulted in eleven films, includingBrokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Ice Storm; The Wedding Banquet; The Hulk; Taking Woodstock and Lust, Caution. As CEO of Focus Features, Schamus oversees the finance, production, and distribution of numerous films, including Oscar winners Milk, The Pianist, Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Schamus has also produced or executive-produced many of the most important American independent films of the past decade (among themSafe and The Brothers McMullen), including four Grand Prize winners at the Sundance Film Festival. He is also a widely published film historian and theorist.


Alwan's literary program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council and private donations.

Last updated: 2013-01-29 14:49:01

Miller Theatre, Columbia University

2960 Broadway (at 116th Street), MC 1801
New York, NY 10027

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