What is a Video Play and Why?

Silk Road Rising first coined the term “video play” in 2011 with the release of Jamil Khoury’s both/and

While the definition of the term continues to evolve for us, it is important to note that it is neither a filmed play nor a feature film, but rather a marriage of genres; a hybrid of theatrical language and design aesthetics enacted on a theatrical stage, conveyed through a cinematic lens, and engaged on a computer, tablet or smartphone screen, or at public viewings. 

The video play is conceived for the stage, interpreted cinematically, then rendered online.

Video plays leverage the unique strengths of both theatre and film, employing those strengths in accordance with the story being told. 

The onus is placed on embracing the best of both genres while eschewing perceived limits and constraints.

Ideally, the video play rejects binaries of stage and screen and strives to create a viewing experience that approximates elements of attending both live theatre and the cinema. 

For a video play to succeed, audiences should recognize this hybrid form as an asset, a desirable medium for storytelling, and not as a compromised version of its antecedents.

We believe that words like “play” and “theatre” and “performance” are dynamic, not static. They evolve, they change, they are reinvented. From where we stand, a video play is indeed a theatrical experience, one fully worthy of the title “play.” 

What began as an experiment now supports a central thesis: the online video play is an artistically compelling and cost effective mechanism for deepening Silk Road Rising’s mission and expanding our reach. And why shouldn’t it be? The internet has, after all, become the 21st century’s Silk Road.

The National Endowment for the Arts identifies the internet as America’s fastest growing medium for arts engagement.

As we are often reminded, there exists a hunger for the work that we do, and it extends well beyond the boundaries of Chicago. The National Endowment for the Arts identifies the internet as America’s fastest growing medium for arts engagement. 

In fact, video content posted online has become the single most important means of content distribution for artists and producers the world over. 

We would argue that the internet is the most democratic, egalitarian, and accessible arts destination humankind has ever known. It is hard to accuse the internet of being elitist or delineated by socio-economic class. 

If we are to create art that is relevant to the world we live in, if we are to revive theatre as an art form for all people, then we must bring art to where people actually live. The online video play is an important step in achieving that goal. 


A thought-provoking and often-humorous reflection on the theoretical and practical differences between two powerful social... more »

Share this play

Written by
Jamil Khoury

Directed by
A. George Bajalia

Executive Producers
Malik Gillani
Jamil Khoury

Gordon Chow as Multiculturalism
Virginia Lee Marie Martinez as Polyculturalism

Director of Photography
Drew Pientka

Editor, Script Supervisor and Assistant Director
Deann Baker

Set Design
Dan Stratton

Costume Designer and Props Master
Kelsey C. Melvin

Original Compositions
Peter J. Storms

Production Manager
Corey Pond

Neal Ryan Shaw

Location Sound Mixer
Dustin Barta

Post-Production Sound
Nate Green

Assistant Camera and Grip
Travis Legge

Nicki Beck

Make Up and Hair
Neva Stroud

Script Development Support provided by
A. George Bajalia
Neal Ryan Shaw
Gordon Chow
Nora Fiffer
Malik Gillani
Virginia Lee Marie Martinez
Madrid St. Angelo

Major Funding provided by:
Field Foundation

Additional Funding provided by
Siragusa Logo

Special Thanks to
About Face Theatre
Eric Branholm
The First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple
Elizabeth Gingerich
Hannoun Rugs from Morocco
Elise Hausken
Becky Klein
Jeanette Kleymeyer
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2014 Planning Committee, Valparaiso University
Claire Melvin
Allison Schuette
Writers Theatre
Liz Wuerffel
Roger Wykes