Yussef El Guindi

Yussef El Guindi

Born in Egypt, raised in London and now based in Seattle, Yussef El Guindi’s work frequently examines the collision of ethnicities, cultures and politics that face Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans. El Guindi holds an MFA in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University, and has worked as a playwright at Silk Road Rising; literary manager for Golden Thread Productions; and playwright-in-residence at...
Born in Egypt, raised in London and now based in Seattle, Yussef El Guindi’s work frequently examines the collision of ethnicities, cultures and politics that face Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans. El Guindi holds an MFA in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University, and has worked as a playwright at Silk Road Rising; literary manager for Golden Thread Productions; and playwright-in-residence at Duke University. He is the recipient of many honors, including the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the 2010 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award. El Guindi's most recent productions include "Hostages" at Radial Theater Project in Seattle, "The Talented Ones" at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland ( Santa Barbara Independent Indy Awards), "Threesome" at Portland Center Stage, ACT, and at 59E59 (winner of a Portland Drammy for Best Original Script),  "Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World" (winner of the Steinberg/ American Theater Critics Association's New Play Award in 2012; and the 2011 Gregory Award) also at ACT, and at Center Repertory Company (Walnut Creek, CA) 2013; and "Language Rooms" (Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), co-produced by Golden Thread Productions and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco; at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (premiere), and at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Other productions: "Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat" was produced by Silk Road Rising and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. His play "Back of the Throat" (winner of L.A. Weekly's Excellence in Playwriting Award for 2006), "Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World", "Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes", "Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda and Karima’s City” have been published by Dramatists Play Service. "Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith", "Collaborator", "Threesome", "The Talented Ones" and "Hostages" have been published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. "Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat" is published in the anthology Four Arab American Plays published by McFarland Books. In January, 2019, Bloomsbury will publish "Selected Works by Yussef El Guindi". Currently a Core Company playwright member at ACT in Seattle, 2018; and a Resident Artist at Golden Thread Production.

Plays

  • The Hanging Tree
    When a teenager attempts suicide by hanging in a wooded area, the tree that he's using refuses to cooperate. A conversation ensues between this enchanted tree and the teenager. A couple from another time emerge and try to dissuade the teenager from ending his life. The couple have their own past with the tree and suicide; and as the teenager works through his demons, they work through theirs. “The Hanging...
    When a teenager attempts suicide by hanging in a wooded area, the tree that he's using refuses to cooperate. A conversation ensues between this enchanted tree and the teenager. A couple from another time emerge and try to dissuade the teenager from ending his life. The couple have their own past with the tree and suicide; and as the teenager works through his demons, they work through theirs. “The Hanging Tree” is a fable of teenage angst and racial divides which explores love, death, and choice using magical realism and memory.
  • People of the Book
    The play revolves around the questionable truthfulness of a war memoir (the Iraq war is implied), and the vested interest people have in either maintaining or disproving the veracity of the memoir.
  • Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat
    Struggling writer Gamal hates the way his fellow Arab-Americans represent their culture on American media. It’s easy enough to take out his frustration on literature superstar Mohsen and local mosque leader, Sheikh Alfani. But when his own girlfriend and novelist Noor gets an offer from a major publisher backed with a national media campaign, how will Gamal manage his frustration?
  • Collaborator
    A one-woman show about intimacy and consent. Cass, a perturbed actor in a search for truth, welcomes the audience into her bed and her psyche as she rationalizes her thirst for attention with her personal boundaries. Through intimate, intertwining stories about her experiences with men, the audience gets to know Cass and feel, as she does, the presence of the unnamed collaborator who made all this possible.
  • The Talented Ones
    The American Dream teeters on the edge of the abyss as immigrants Cindy and Omar face their thwarted dreams and unraveling marriage, while Omar’s buddy Patrick connives to push them over the edge. In this surprisingly funny dark comedy, trouble erupts one night when bad choices are followed by extremely bad choices. The stakes become lethal as these characters manipulate the truth and do anything to justify...
    The American Dream teeters on the edge of the abyss as immigrants Cindy and Omar face their thwarted dreams and unraveling marriage, while Omar’s buddy Patrick connives to push them over the edge. In this surprisingly funny dark comedy, trouble erupts one night when bad choices are followed by extremely bad choices. The stakes become lethal as these characters manipulate the truth and do anything to justify their desires. Mixing realism with memory and dance, The Talented Ones explores the extra pressure to succeed that immigrant children experience as they try to balance aspiration and reality. Cindy and Omar (and their counterparts) may be cast with actors of any ethnicity except white/European.
  • Ten Acrobats In An Amazing Leap Of Faith
    East meets West meets mayhem in this Muslim-American family comedy evoking universal themes of faith, culture, belonging, and desire. Ten Acrobats adds a new chapter to the American immigrant narrative.
  • Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World.
    Anyone who has ever looked for love know the dilemma. Do you make a safe, sensible match? Or take a risk on an exciting someone who might—just might—be the One Great Romance of your life? Musa, an Egyptian immigrant, and Sheri, a very quirky Caucasian waitress, must negotiate the twists and turns of not only love but cultural expectations in this charming romantic comedy with a delightful twist.
  • Back of The Throat
    BACK OF THE THROAT is the tale of an apparently friendly visit by two government officials, which soon devolves into a full-blown, no-holds-barred probe. Khaled, an Arab-American writer and the focus of their inquiry, finds himself, to his astonishment, suddenly accused of possible ties to terrorists. As the interrogation proceeds, the officials reveal their evidence, but is it evidence? Or have innocent events...
    BACK OF THE THROAT is the tale of an apparently friendly visit by two government officials, which soon devolves into a full-blown, no-holds-barred probe. Khaled, an Arab-American writer and the focus of their inquiry, finds himself, to his astonishment, suddenly accused of possible ties to terrorists. As the interrogation proceeds, the officials reveal their evidence, but is it evidence? Or have innocent events been distorted through the lens of paranoid suspicion? As the situation turns increasingly surreal, and the menace to Khaled increasingly real, the question of what it means to be an American takes on a very personal and charged significance. A chilling black comedy, BACK OF THE THROAT confronts bureaucratic euphemisms like "person of interest" and "extraordinary rendition" with the frightening reality they seek to obscure.