After ten years of self-imposed estrangement from her country, Rana reunites with three of her old friends on a soccer field in Istanbul on 15 July 2016 (the eve of the attempted coup d'etat in Turkey), only to realize what it was that really drove them apart. Spanning across the surreal events of one evening, Field, Awakening is an anti-homecoming: a tale of a stranger in a strange land, searching in vain for a home that is lost in a landscape of fleeting familiarity and heightened political surveillance.
*Field, Awakening is part of a series of plays called the “coup / mama cycle,“ where each story forms a fragment of the tapestry of a larger world (connected thematically or by a recurring character or motif) exploring the definition of motherhood at a national, political and personal level, particularly revolving around or within the tumultuous coup culture of Turkey.
The Kilroy’s List (2019)*
Columbia@Roundabout rewarded finalist (NY, 2019)*
Sundance Lab final-round (Utah, 2018)
Berkeley Rep Ground Floor final-round (San Francisco, 2018)
Van Lier New Voices fellowship final-round (NY, 2017)
Finborough Theatre: reading directed by Rory McGregor (London, 2019)*
Golden Thread Productions: reading directed by Evren Odcikin (San Francisco, 2018)*
Corkscrew Theatre Festival: workshop production directed by Tatiana Pandiani (NY, 2018)*
Signature Theatre New Plays Festival: workshop production directed by Tatiana Pandiani
When My Mama was a Hittite
While Ajda, a middle-aged Turkish mother and her daughter Nur, a wannabe actor try to come to terms with their political exile in London working as waitresses in a pseudo-Middle Eastern fast-food restaurant, the emergence of Nur’s black sheep brother Cem starts to unearth dark secrets as they struggle to make ends meet. When my Mama was a Hittite explores the myth of self-actualization in the face of survival, and the desire to transcend victimhood and an immigrant identity.
*When My Mama was a Hittite is part of a series of plays called the “coup / mama cycle,“ where each story forms a fragment of the tapestry of a larger world (connected thematically or by a recurring character or motif) exploring the definition of motherhood at a national, political and personal level, particularly revolving around or within the tumultuous coup culture of Turkey.
Columbia@Roundabout rewarded finalist (NY, 2018)*
NYTW: reading directed by Kareem Fahmy (NY, 2018)*
Gilded Isle tells the story of Lerzan Hanim and her three granddaughters as she struggles to decide what to do with her crumbling property in the face of the Syrian refugee crisis and growing national divide. Set on the Prince Islands off the coast of Istanbul Turkey, matters are complicated when the mayor designates part of Lerzan Hanim’s clementine garden to construct a refugee camp. Loosely inspired by, and a synthesis of Shakespeare's King Lear and Orhan Pamuk's Silent House, Gilded Isle explores the difficulties and implications of taking, breaking, and making space, and is a meditation on the meaning of roots against a backdrop of uncertainty and change.
*Gilded Isle is part of a series of plays called the "synthesis cycle," where a canonically Western text is paired with another from Turkey (and occasionally from the Anatolian/Mesopotamian region), to create an original narrative. The goal with this original narrative is to explore the echoes and bridge the gap between the two source-texts and cultures.
NYTW: reading directed by Rory McGregor (NY, 2019)*
Manar depicts the explosive fallout of a racially segregated community that must grieve the unexpected disappearance of a white teenage boy. When ISIS publishes an execution video online, A Mother is convinced, through the eyes of the veiled executioner, that she recognizes her missing son. Manar is a memory play following individuals trapped in the trenches of mourning, searching for tangible resolution in an age of digital empathy. Through repetition, fragmentation, and fabrication, Manar interlaces scenes between A Mother and A Father with A Son's Syrian high school friend, Najla, her brother Ali, and a neighborhood deli owner Gunner Hassan, to explore the crux of a dysfunctional marriage in light of paranoia, grief, and cultural segregation.
Columbia@Roundabout rewarded finalist (NY, 2017)*
Theatre503 Playwriting Award semifinalist (London, 2016)*
Golden Thread Productions’ ReOrient Festival: workshop production directed by Erin Gilley
(San Francisco, 2017)*
LaMaMa ETC: reading directed by Isabelle Kettle (NY, 2017)*
LPAC’s Rough Draft Festival: workshop production directed by Isabelle Kettle (NY, 2017)*
Feeling as though she was born to replace her missing brother, 12-year-old, Turkish-American Melek struggles to feel comfortable under her own skin after years of neglect from her parents. When she discovers her mother’s dark conspiracy concerning her brother’s whereabouts, she devises a plan that shakes the core of their family identity. Dragonflies is a coming-of-age story about alienation, and the lengths to which a child will go to fix her broken parents, and find a way to see herself through the noise.
Sundance Lab final-round (Utah, 2019)
Scraps and Things
Scraps and Things sits with two women in an imaginary laundromat in Istanbul, Turkey, who try to come to terms with items of clothing as they slowly discover that they are in the midst of an unforgiving circumstance.
Atlantic Theatre Co.: commissioned for Middle Eastern Mixfest, reading directed by Tracy Francis (NY, 2018)*
Azul Otra Vez [“Blue, Revisited”]
Inspired by Rubén Darío’s poetry and short stories, Azul Otra Vez [Blue, Revisited] is a bilingual musical about the financial struggles of the artist, fatherhood, generational trauma and forgiveness. By way of a framework rooted in Latin American culture, the universal story explores how memory, nostalgia and imagination can reshape and archive cultural, familial and immigrant identity.
The first act, a collage of Darío’s short stories, is in Spanish and follows El Pájaro Azul [Blue Bird] -- a hungry and idealist poet in an imaginary historical realm (circa 1888), who leaves his home and Papá behind to journey towards a “new world.” His hopes of being a published poet are destroyed when he realizes that in this “new world,” he must not only face the obstacles of being an artist, but also those of being an immigrant. After discovering that his long-lost, now late girlfriend has given birth to a baby girl, he finds himself trapped in a menial job serving a wealthy art patron as an “entertainer” in order to bring his daughter to the “new world,” and fund both their lives.
The second act, which is in English and Spanish, is set in New York, both in 2001 and present-day. We meet Margarita, an eleven-year-old girl who is the daughter of a contemporary analog of El Pájaro Azul -- a Nicaraguan immigrant and failed poet named Garcín who works a menial desk job at a newspaper. Margarita obsessively reads her father’s copy of Azul, which inspires her to compose songs on her toy piano. When she witnesses her father attempting to commit suicide, we flashforward to Rita, Margarita’s grown self, who is desperately trying to come to terms with her past, forgive her hospitalized father, and find community. When she realizes that she must be the owner of her own narrative and lineage, she begins to see her father under a different light in her own artistic work.
The score strings together Latin American jazz with folklore, and combines lyrics from Darío’s poetry with original verses. A hybrid between heightened comedy, magic realism and naturalism, Azul Otra Vez is a spectacle in the legacy of the American book musical, as well as a psychological deep-dive into the immigrant father-daughter relationship.
Tofte Lake residency retreat (Minnesota, 2019)*
BRICLab residency: workshop production directed by Tatiana Pandiani (NY, 2017)*
A Love Letter
Avery and his Iranian partner Parastoo struggle with the looming figure of their sperm donor Reza, who is somehow mysteriously connected to two pilots in flight. 330 Pegasus explores what it means to have cultural and genetic ownership over one's heritage, identity, and body in a world defined by subtle mythology, uncanny mishaps, love letters, silent landlords, and other such bad omens.
Jerome NY Fellowship final-round (NY, 2017)
Noor Theatre’s Highlight series: reading directed by Kim Kerfoot (NY, 2017)*
[Screenplay: Feature film]
Suspecting that her seemingly promiscuous upstairs neighbor might be the cause of her father’s sudden disappearance, a reclusive 10-year old girl goes on a revenge journey that results in her finding unlikely friends. Set in Istanbul, Turkey, ARI (BEE) is a surreal coming-of-age story that explores femaleness in the face of deep communal prejudice, resentment and rage.
Cannes Film Festival: production meetings at the Cannes script market via Maison des Scenaristes (Cannes, 2019)*
[Screenplay: TV series]
MANAR is an 8-part crime-drama miniseries set in 2014, exploring the ripple effects of a missing white boy on the tightly-knit and diverse community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. No one believes his mother when she starts to suspect that he is the executioner in an ISIS video ... except for her son’s Syrian friend Najla, who becomes the anchor for each member of the community, and an entryway into an even darker secret.
… Think “Broadchurch” meets “The Night Of.”
Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP)’s IFP Week (NY, 2019)*
Trans Atlantic Partners: pitched by producer Esra Saydam (Berlin, 2019)*
Orchard Project’s Episodic Lab (NY, 2019)*
* Acknowledgements and development credited on Resume.