The Black Eyed

Betty Shamieh

This play is included in the collection:


Four Arab women from across the ages meet in the afterlife. As these characters — who include the Biblical Delilah and a secular modern Arab-American — struggle to come to terms with their lives and their choices, this shockingly funny play skewers traditional views on sex, family, and terrorism.

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (4 female)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Period Costumes

Press Quotes

“A gorgeously conceived and realized drama … [Shamieh’s] theatrical imagination, in its agility and its urgency, brings to mind Tony Kushner, whose faith in eloquence as an instrument of change is echoed here.” —The New Yorker

“Shamieh’s writing is powerful! Violence haunts the four Palestinian women occupying an anteroom of the afterlife … these souls in Samuel Beckett-like transit are The Black Eyed which happens to be the title of Betty Shamieh’s provocative theater piece.” —International Herald Tribune

“A chillingly beautiful piece about the relationship between seduction and violence!” —San Francisco Weekly

“From its first words, Shamieh’s play grabs you and won’t let go.” —Oakland Tribune

“Shamieh’s writing is thoughtful, her perspective informed.” —The New York Times

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 1/1/2009
Pages 132
ISBN 9780881454017

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:

Premiered at The Magic Theater, San Francisco
Subsequently produced at Fournos Theatre in Athens, Greece
and at New York Theater Workshop

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


Upcoming and Recent Productions


11/13/2022 – 11/13/2022
Pict Classic Theater
Pittsburgh, PA