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Sylvia Khoury, Drama

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Sylvia Khoury. Photo: Yael Nov.

Sylvia Khoury is a New York–born writer of French and Lebanese descent. Her plays include Selling Kabul (Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theater Festival), Power Strip (LCT3), Against the Hillside (Ensemble Studio Theater), and The Place Women Go. She is currently under commission from Lincoln Center, Williamstown Theater Festival, and Seattle Repertory Theater. Awards include the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and Jay Harris Commission and a Citation of Excellence from the Laurents/Hatcher Awards. She is a member of EST/Youngblood and a previous member of the 2018–19 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop at the Lark and the 2016–18 WP Lab. Her plays have been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theater Festival, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Roundabout Theater Underground, Lark Playwrights’ Week, EST/Youngblood, and WP Theater. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.F.A. from the New School for Drama. She will obtain her M.D. from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in May 2021.


An excerpt from Selling Kabul:

You don’t want me to go, is that it?
You want me to stay?

Of course I want you to go.
Don’t be stupid.
You think I want you here?

I can handle whatever they send, Afiya.
Good, or bad, or nothing.

I hate it, seeing your hope when you check for messages.
Watching it crack when there’s nothing.
There’s always nothing.

Until one day, there’s something.

We repair that box and you won’t have an invitation to America.
Just a message from Jeff.

Jeff is my friend.

Jeff is not your friend.
Jeff got to go home to America.
Jeff abandoned you.

Jeff didn’t abandon me.
Listen, Afiya.
America, their word is good, okay?
So it takes some time, it takes some time.

He fills your head with dreams.
I don’t like it.

You know what Jeff and I went through together.

Yes, yes.

You’ve seen in my folder.

He pulls out a binder from under the floor couch.
As he opens it:


All the letters he had them write me.
Taroon translated for us here—
Taroon came under fire there—
Taroon is a strong man—
Brave man—

Repetitive man,
I have heard this before, Taroon.
Please, you are making my head hurt.

He puts the binder away.

They will get me this visa, I know it.
They will.
For me, for Bibi, for our son.
Jeff promised.

Yes, of course.
Jeff promised.

Taroon is still restless.
He watches her sew.

Four months and suddenly this place seems so small.

It is small.

Drink your tea, Taroon.

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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