It was around two years ago that I started the process of adapting “I killed Scheherazade, Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman” by Joumana Haddad. My very first time reading this book was only two months prior.
I was going through a tough period in my life where I was trying to figure out what I really wanted on a personal level. I had amazing parents, supportive friends, and a great fiancé. I had the best internship opportunity any senior student could ever get. I was finishing up my last year of college and planning my wedding. For someone with my cultural background, it seemed perfect.
However, that “perfect” version of my life felt like there was something missing. I was lost, literally. I pushed everyone and everything away from me. Joumana’s book helped me. It helped me be okay with what I was going through. It helped me let go of the guilt I felt from messing up my “perfect” life. It helped me get over the thought that listening to myself wasn’t the right decision.
At the end of the book, Joumana describes characters and events that may have stopped her in owning her power and, believe it or not, I had a real life example for every character and event she described. It made me realize that I am not alone in this struggle, and that many other women may be experiencing it as well. I thought to myself, “I wish I read this before! I wish I knew about this. I wish women that are going through what I am going through could read this.”
I wanted people to know about this story so badly, and what better way to show them than to bring it to life on stage.
The adaptation was a more difficult challenge than I anticipated. How do you bring a memoir to life? How do you transform a woman telling her story in a book into a play with more than five characters interacting and introducing the same story? I gave up many times, thinking it was impossible. Who did I think I was to make this happen? And why was I even trying to do this?
But then I would remember my “why” and start again.
Fast forward to today– we are in our final stage of casting, and rehearsals start next week. I have a great, diverse production team, each member of which is as passionate about this play as much as I am. It is happening!
The play is about an Arab Lebanese woman who examines the factors of her upbringing and how they made her the person she is today. The story doesn’t represent all Arab women, but many women can relate to it.
It introduces us to the challenges that our author faced, the privileges she took advantage of, the choices she made, the consequences, and sometimes, the rewards that followed those choices.
It is simply an authentic story of a powerful Arab woman that needs to be told… especially now. Now more than ever is the time to learn more about each other as people and to hear our different stories.
Two years ago, this whole process started, and two months from today, it will come full circle on closing night. From now till then, I would like to invite you all to check our website, join our mailing list, help us spread the word about the play and grab a ticket!