January 18, 2017

BETTY SHAMIEH isn’t in the house tonight, but she is on stage.

The small Off Broadway theater staging Fit for a Queen, her latest play, is sparely lit. The glitz of the set’s palace—flashing lights, booming music, scantily draped slaves bearing platters of fruit and flowers—has receded. Queen Hatshepsut, till now languid on her throne, jumps up, her cool cracking: “You know I hate it when you make it sound like you don’t love me.”

The figure at whom Hatshepsut lashes out is Senenmut, her favorite slave, who is prostrate on the floor. In the language of the play, “favorite” is code for consort-by-coercion, but with that role comes an expectation that the coercion remain unspoken. Senenmut becomes “sweet Senenmut”; Hatshepsut is “Happy,” and open to affectionate ribbing. But now, Senenmut invokes her servility, cutting Happy to the bone. If she can goad the queen into offing her dying husband, the pharaoh, and claiming the throne, then Senenmut—through the woman who loves her (and who...

October 3, 2016

Original article:

Written by Victoria Myers

Photography by Jacqueline Harriet

September 29th, 2016

In Gallery 115 of the Egyptian Art wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there are several statues of Hatshepsut, both as a woman and a man. The female Hatshepsut ruled ancient Egypt as Pharaoh, a title reserved for men and considered higher than Queen. And like many controversial and powerful women, she was then erased by history. Playwright Betty Shamieh is bringing Hatshepsut back into focus with her new play Fit for a Queen, which is being produced by The Classical Theatre of Harlem and running at 3LD Art & Technology Center through October 30th. Betty’s work has been performed and workshopped in numerous theatres, both in New York and throughout Europe. Other plays include The Black Eyed, Roar, and Again and Against. She’s received a Guggenheim Fellowship and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships....

August 2, 2016

Betty Shamieh receives at 2016-2017 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama and Performance Art.

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