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About the Translation

Mac Arthur LogoThis translation of Tuqus al-Isharat wa-l-Tahawwulat (Rituals of Signs and Transformations) from Arabic to English was commissioned by Silk Road Rising and funded by a grant from the The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The English translation premiered in Beirut in December of 2013 at the Babel Theatre, and was produced by the American University in Beirut and Robert Myers and directed by Sahar Assaf. The play is also receiving a staged reading in March 2014 at the Segal Theatre Center at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. The translation appears in Four Plays From Syria: Sa’dallah Wannous, published by CUNY’s Martin Segal Theatre Center, for which co-translator Robert Myers wrote the introduction.

Translator Robert Myers

MyersRobert Myers is the author of over a dozen stage plays, including Atwater: Fixin’ to Die (Helen Hayes Nominee, directed by George Furth); The Lynching of Leo Frank (Joseph Jefferson Award, Best New Work) and Dead of Night: The Execution of Fred Hampton (both directed by Jonathan Wilson); Painting Persia; Mesopotamia, about Gertrude Bell, presented at Yale with Kathleen Chalfant (directed by Evan Yionoulis); Unmanned, about drone pilots, at the Blank Theatre (staged reading, directed by Kirsten Sanderson), which he adapted as Drone Pilots for BBC’s Radio 4, broadcast in September 2013 (directed by Judith Kampfner); and Twilight Country, read at Theatre Row with Tonya Pinkas and Lisa Pelikan. He also co-translated Baghdadi Bath, by Iraq’s best-known director, Jawad Al Assadi, with Nada Saab, produced at LaMama (directed by Zishan Ugurlu) and as a staged reading with Asiif Mandvi and Sean Krishnan at Dartmouth with the New York Theatre Workshop. He has a PhD in literature from Yale, is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the American University of Beirut, and former director of the University’s Center for American Studies. He has received a Franke fellowship from Yale, two Fulbright fellowships, a Mellon grant and a New York State Individual Artist’s grant. He has written on theatre and culture for The New York Times, PAJ, TRI, Folha de São Paulo, Middle East Critique and other publications.

Translator Nada Saab

Faculty Nada SaabNada Saab is Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies at the Lebanese American University. Her publications focus on Sufism and its embodiments in Arabic literature, both medieval and modern, and critical editions of medieval Sufi manuscripts. In addition to this translation, her collaboration with Robert Myers has resulted in a translation of Hammam Baghdadi (Baghdadi Bath) by Jawad Al-Asadi (published by PAJ) and al-Diktatur (The Dictator) by ’Isam Mahfuz (forthcoming).