About The Balancing Arab

Released in 2012, The Balancing Arab (15 min) tells the story of Hanan (played by Amira Sabbagh), a politically active Arab American, and Heidi, her Irish American personal fitness trainer (played by Leslie Frame). 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 political conversations with a personal fitness trainer as well as a lifetime of involvement in the Arab American community.