Playwright profiles: Eyad Houssami

19 Oct

BTSblog presents you the playwrights of the first Between the Seas staged readings event.

Eyad Houssami grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and pursued his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies at Yale University, where he directed seven full scale productions. He has also performed in the dead Byzantine cities in Syria, a beach party twenty minutes north of the Lebanon-Israel border, and a 13th century mansion in Damascus. As a writer, he has contributed to peer-reviewed academic journals, international magazines, and regional dailies. A recipient of Rotary and Fulbright research grants, he earns a living as an editor in Beirut, Lebanon.

What inspired the writing of Mama Butterfly?

During the summer 2006 war in Lebanon, I was evacuated from Beirut by American marines on a ship flanked by Navy warships. Around 1,200 civilian deaths were reported in Lebanon; 44 civilian deaths were reported in Israel. My great-aunt, a widow, chose to stay in Beirut despite having the means to evacuate unlike most. Her decision, my privileged evacuation, and the devastation of war prompted me to write Mama Butterfly, my first play. It is based on a series of interviews conducted in 2007.

How did you get into playwriting and what is the type of theater you are interested in?

I first began writing for the stage while studying performance with Deb Margolin at Yale. I am interested in stories and dreams that unfold in the theatre, the place where, despite a future of screens and speeds so great, we will continue to remember, experience, and preserve our humanity.

What does the Mediterranean mean to you?

Millennia of trade, migration, and empire.

Eyad’s play MAMA BUTTERFLY will be featured in the Between the Seas staged readings, on Tuesday October 19th, 7-8 pm at Solas Bar [232 East 9th str.]

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