Cover photo by Carol Rosegg


Betty Shamieh
Book Item Icon $15.95
PDF ePlay Item Icon
Enter total users


A play about love, sex, ambition, and the Arab American experience, ROAR is the story of a Palestinian American family living in Detroit in the wake of the first Gulf War. Karema and Ahmed Yacoub work long hours in their liquor store while their teenage daughter, Irene, relentlessly pursues a career as a pop star. All hell breaks loose when a notoriously sexy and scandalous relative, Hala, gets thrown out of Kuwait and arrives on the doorstep without a return ticket.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (3 female, 2 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“ROAR is part tender drama and part searing comedy. The young writer Betty Shamieh has the playwright’s most essential gift: the passion for talk. Ms Shamieh’s rich, urgent prose will catch you up, then fling you into a character’s life as if it were your own. In ROAR, we meet two generations of Palestinian-Americans living in Detroit during the first Gulf War. Don’t expect the grim worthiness of a ‘problem play’; expect unpredictable events, relationships, and humor.” —Margo Jefferson, The New York Times

“The words of this play first hum, then sing and ultimately roar into your consciousness and soul.” —Theater Scene

“ROAR opened Off-Broadway and made an immediate impact. It deals with a family of outsiders who, like the Younger family in A RAISIN IN THE SUN, are also struggling with the concept of assimilation — but this family of uprooted Palestinians sees the world in a considerably different and far more complex way. Although it deals largely with the Palestinian experience, ROAR is fundamentally about the American dream.” —Theater Mania

“ROAR is not at all the lightweight issue-oriented play it first appears, but rather a layered, family-oriented tragic drama in the tradition of THE GLASS MENAGERIE or LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. If Shamieh’s not quite ready to stake her claim as not only one of the best and most important playwrights of her generation but as a dramatist as significant in her way as Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill were in theirs, ROAR certainly suggests the day that will happen is not far off.” —Talkin’ Broadway

“ROAR isn’t just the story of Palestinian-Americans living in Detroit: it’s an unsentimental look at family life in all its frustrating complexity.” —Associated Press

About the Author


  • Betty Shamieh

    Betty Shamieh is a playwright, author, screenwriter, and actress. She is the author of fifteen plays. She was selected as the winner of The Playwrights' Center's 2012 – 2013 McKnight National Residency and Commission. 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. Shamieh was named a UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue in 2011. Her recent European productions in translation include AGAIN AND AGAINST (Playhouse Theater, Stockholm), THE BLACK EYED (Fournos Theatre, Athens), and TERRITORIES (co-production of the Landes-Theatre and the European Union Capital of Culture Festival). AGAIN AND AGAINST was presented in Russian translation as part of the American Seasons in Russia/U.S.-Russia Presidential Bi-lateral Commission and Lark Play Development Center in 2011. AS SOON AS IMPOSSIBLE was commissioned by Second Stage through the Time Warner Commissioning Program. THE MACHINE was directed by Marisa Tomei and produced by Naked Angels. Her play FREE RADICALS was commissioned by at Het Zuidelijk Toneel (Holland). TERRITORIES was commissioned by Trinity Rep, developed at Al-Harah Theatre, and presented at the Bethlehem Peace Center with support from the Doris Duke Foundation. In 2012, Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Studies presented the world premiere of a suite of arias from TERRITORIES, an opera that Shamieh is writing the lyrics and libretto for based on her play. Shamieh performed in her play of monologues, CHOCOLATE IN HEAT, in three extended Off-Off-Broadway runs and over twenty university theatres. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, she was a recipient of a NEA/TCG residency program at the Magic Theatre. Shamieh was selected as a Clifton Visiting Artist at Harvard in 2004 and named as a Playwriting Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies in 2006. Shamieh's contributions to theatre and literature have not gone unnoticed. Her life and work has been the subject of features in The New York Times, Time Out, American Theatre magazine, Theater Bay Area, The Brooklyn Rail, San Francisco Chronicle, Svenska Dagbladet, Teaterstockholm, der Standard, Aramco Magazine, Kathimeiri, and The International Herald Tribune among others. A cartoon of ROAR appeared in The New Yorker's "Goings on about Town" section. She is a member of New Dramatists, an affiliated artist at the New Group, and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Her works have been translated into seven languages.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/30/2005
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881452556

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by The New Group, New York

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Roar is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC