Inspired by a true story, the sister of the Islamic leader Salah Al-Din (Saladin) is kidnapped by a notorious French Crusader, Reginald de Chatilon. Reginald is famed for his unique methods of torture and his ability to seduce powerful women. This play moves fluidly before, during, and after her capture to tell a story about war that has a timeless relevance.
“Compelling central plot hook and push-pull between vividly opposed personalities! Winnowing the big-canvas conflict between Christians and Muslims down to a tricky game of power plays between three figures -- a powerful sultan, his sister and the French knight who captures her -- allows Shamieh a flexible platform to muse on issues of cultural, political, religious and sexual politics that still dominate West and Middle East relations today.”
“A wonderful piece of art…Territories records an entire catalog of power techniques accessed on the relatively unprotected body of a woman. As in the works of Marivaux…unsolvable contradictions are raised. A brilliant first performance!”
“An intelligent and refined play…which develops its own tempo and melody like a piece of music.”
“Territories gives us the name, face and bold deeds of one woman, and we leave the theater reminded that history rarely tells the whole story. It’s up to art to help fill in the blanks.”
~The Oakland Tribune
“A winner! A gripping play of sustained interest! This is a vitally contemporary story, although set in the time of the Crusades, Territories speaks of timelessly important issues. While the show has a satisfying finality, at the same time, its sends the audience out of the theater deep in thought, intrigued and trying to work out the meaning of what had happened.”
~San Francisco Examiner
Commissioned by Trinity Rep and developed with Al-Harah Theatre Company at the Bethlehem Peace Center. World premiere at the Magic Theatre in 2008 and European premiere in German translation as a co-production of the 2009 European Union Capital of Culture Festival and the Landes Theater. In 2012, Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies presented the world premiere of a suite of arias from Territories, an opera with music by Andreia Pinto-Correia based on Shamieh’s play.