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.
World premiere at the Magic Theatre (Director: Jessica Heidt), European premiere in Greek translation at Theater Fournos of Athens (Director: Takis Tzamargias), and off-Broadway premiere at New York Theatre Workshop in 2007 (Director: Sam Gold)
“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
“Even though the women in [Shamieh’s} play have each either suffered or perpetrated horrific deeds, there’s plenty of humor and even whimsy as they sort out identities and tell their stories. Shamieh’s poetic text and vibrant performers depict a spectrum of vivid shades.”
“From its first words, Shamieh's play grabs you and won't let go.”
“There's an intriguing evenhandedness to [Shamieh’s] worldview. "Black Eyed" may take its name from the houris of Islamic heaven, but the afterlife where these women meet is full of Jews, Christians and Buddhists, too.”
~San Francisco Chronicle
“This play by Palestinian-American Betty Shamieh is a chillingly beautiful piece about the relationship between violence and seduction.
“Ms. Shamieh’s writing is thoughtful, her perspective informed.”
~The New York Times
“A skillfully written play about "unanswered questions" and "unquestioned answers" that is deceptively cute, funny and entertaining without ever undercutting the seriousness of its issues of violence, heroism and gender…there's an abundance of quirky, off-beat charm in The Black Eyed, which makes its effectiveness as a serious exploration of humanity's use of violence as a means of obtaining justice all the more striking.”