Theatre Director & Playwright
Kareem is an NYC-based theatre director and playwright who focuses on the development of new plays and adaptations of work for the stage. He is 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, the 2019 Phil Killian Directing Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and was a 2017-2018 National Directors Fellow. He is a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle Eastern and beyond, and the co-chair of the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at The Lark. Member: SDC.
SEPT 5–22: YASMINA'S NECKLACE BY ROHINA MALIK
PREMIERE STAGES, UNION, NJ
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE
Meet Abdul Samee: his father is Iraqi, his mother is Puerto Rican - but if you ask him, he'll say he's Italian. Longing to shed his cultural identity, he changes his name to Sam, marries an American and does everything in his power to turn away from his heritage. But when Sam meets Yasmina, a beautiful woman from his father's homeland, he begins to learn that a tree without roots cannot stand for long.
OCT 30–NOV 18, 2018: REFUGE*MALJA*ملجأ BY BESS WELDEN
PORTLAND STAGE, PORTLAND, ME
When a Jewish-American war photographer feels compelled to assist a young refugee who steps in front her camera, she calls an old friend to translate but hesitates to reveal why she is so drawn to the boy. This poetic, decade-spanning drama explores how we each define and find our own malja (refuge).
AUGUST 14, 2018: THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING
A PLAY BY KAREEM FAHMY, BASED ON THE NOVEL BY ALAA AL ASWANY
ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY, NYC
Set in contemporary Cairo, the play chronicles the lives of Egyptian citizens of different religions, genders, sexual orientations, and class backgrounds. Al Aswany renders the novel’s namesake building, a historic apartment block in the heart of downtown Cairo, as a microcosm of an Egypt infested with corruption, discrimination, despair, and ugliness. The book created a sensation in the Middle East with its provocative portrayal of sociopolitical corruption eating away at the foundation of the country, as well as its unflinching look at homosexuality and sexual desire, long-held taboos to the conservative Egyptian society.
JUNE 13–17, 2018: THE TRIUMPHANT [PARTS 3, 4, AND 7]
CREATED & DIRECTED BY KAREEM FAHMY
TARGET MARGIN THEATER, NYC
Trapped in a prison, a group of gay men conjure the fantastical stories of Sindbad the Sailor as they await their uncertain future. A multi-media theatre performance piece that draws both from interviews conducted with members of the LGBTQ community in Egypt and mythic stories of survival and bravery, The Triumphant [Parts 3, 4, and 7] is about the resilience of the human spirit even in the face of the greatest adversities.
MAY, 2018: ALTERNATING CURRENTS BY ADAM KRAAR
WORKING THEATER, NYC
When two newly married electricians move to Electchester everything seems perfect: spacious apartment, low rent, friendly neighbors, and an incredibly close-knit community. But as they settle in, they discover how much they may need to give up in order to really belong.
OCT 20–NOV 12, 2017: THE MECCA TALES BY ROHINA MALIK
VOYAGE THEATER COMPANY, NYC
CROSSROADS THEATRE COMPANY, NJ
NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY PREMIERES
Rohina Malik's Jeff Award-nominated play The Mecca Tales tells the story of five Muslim women on the pilgrimage known as the Hajj. When their bus breaks down miles short of their destination, tempers flare and the women are tested in unexpected ways. They share their personal stories with each other in an attempt to move forward in their lives and find meaning in a spiritual journey seemingly gone awry.
MAY 1–28, 2017: 3/FIFTHS BY JAMES SCRUGGS
3LD ART + TECHNOLOGY CENTER, NYC
A provocative and radically satirical exploration of race and privilege in America. Staged as an immersive participatory carnival and cabaret, and sprawled across 10,000 square feet, 3/Fifths transformed 3LD Art + Technology Center into a dystopian interactive ethno-theme park known as SupremacyLand. Named one of The New York Times's "5 Must-See Shows"
MAY, 2016: THIS TIME BY SEVAN K. GREENE
RISING CIRCLE THEATER COLLECTIVE, THE SHEEN CENTER, NYC
I directed the world premiere of Rising Circle Theater Collective's production of This Time, a play about my grandmother's journey from Egypt to Canada, written by Sevan K. Greene.
This Time was named a New York Times Critics' Pick: "A skillfully constructed, beautifully acted play about one woman’s quest for liberation at a time and in a place where that struggle could not have been easy." – Neil Genzlinger
Leila Buck & Babak Tafti in The In-Between