The Balancing Arab

Written by Jamil Khoury - Directed by Anne Jacques
Featuring Leslie Frame and Amira Sabbagh

The Balancing Arab (15 min) tells the story of Heidi (played by Leslie Frame), an Irish American personal fitness trainer, and Hanan (played by Amira Sabbagh), her once morbidly obese Arab American client. Set in a downtown Chicago gym amidst a strenuous training session, the mood turns tense as the two women recount an event at the Arab American Cultural Center a few nights earlier, an event at which the evening’s political discourse got filtered through decidedly different lenses. 

The Balancing Arab explores tensions that exist within and between political cultures and the challenges of messaging that gets stranded in context and lost in translation.

Playwright Jamil Khoury has dedicated The Balancing Arab to skilled personal fitness trainers - the unsung heroes of American health care and preventative medicine. Although entirely fictional, The Balancing Arab was inspired, in part, by Khoury’s weight loss of over a hundred pounds and his reversal of type two diabetes and gout arthritis, as well as political conversations with his personal trainer and a lifetime of involvement in the Arab American community.

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Written by
Jamil Khoury

Directed by
Anne Jacques

Executive Producers
Malik Gillani
Jamil Khoury

Leslie Frame as Heidi
Amira Sabbagh as Hanan

Assistant Director
Deann Baker

Director of Photography
Drew Pientka

Original Score & Sound
Peter J. Storms

Assistant Camera
Jesse Hibbs

Tim Stotz

Deann Baker

Script Supervisor
Elias Feghaly

Production Manager
Caitlin Duerinck

Sound Mixer
Jason Ssg

Make Up and Hair
Lydia Pligge

Athletic Consultant
Andrew James Preston

Props Master
Jesse Gaffney

Producer Level Donors:
Karen Atwood
Sheila Chapman
Geeta Citygirl
Jo Anne Davis

Support Provided by:


Field Foundation