Silk Road Rising announces the release of The Balancing Arab, an online video play written by Jamil Khoury and directed by Anne Jacques. The Balancing Arab runs 15 minutes, and is available for free online viewing on the Silk Road Rising web site at www.silkroadrising.org.
Jamil Khoury’s The Balancing Arab tells the story of Heidi (played by Leslie Frame), an Irish American personal fitness trainer, and Hanan (played by Amira Sabbagh), her once morbidly obese Arab American client. Set in a downtown Chicago gym amidst a strenuous training session, the mood turns tense as the two women recount an event at the Arab American Cultural Center a few nights earlier, an event at which the evening’s political discourse got filtered through decidedly different lenses.
The Balancing Arab explores tensions that exist within and between political cultures and the challenges of messaging that gets stranded in context and lost in translation.
Playwright Jamil Khoury has dedicated The Balancing Arab to skilled personal fitness trainers - the unsung heroes of American health care and preventative medicine. Although entirely fictional, The Balancing Arab was inspired, in part, by Khoury’s weight loss of over a hundred pounds, his reversal of type two diabetes and gout arthritis, ongoing political conversations with his personal fitness trainer, and a lifetime of involvement in the Arab American community.
The Balancing Arab was originally commissioned as part of The Chicago Landmark Project (2011) and produced under the title 63rd and Kedzie: The Arab American Cultural Center by Theatre Seven of Chicago, Brian Golden, Artistic Director.
The Balancing Arab was filmed in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., in Pierce Hall at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple.