At a time when Saudi Arabia is rebuilding its entertainment industry and restoring the theater, I came across an original play written by a young Saudi woman in a time where published Arabic plays were quite scarce.
Zoha Shabat wrote “A Face with Two Shadows,” for a literary competition, winning the first-edition reward that enabled her to publish the play in 2017.
We as readers get to tune into the protagonist’s thoughts via interior monologue and watch him grapple with the presence that haunts him throughout the play, before an all-out battle takes place between him and the shadow.
A very striking element in the play is the dismissal the protagonist, Khalid, faces from others in society, and also from within himself. He seeks help but refuses it when it is offered to him.
The book cover and illustrations introducing each chapter are designed by Amani Al-Ghoraibi, whose art relates to the story beautifully, summarizing the plot of each chapter.
I would be very curious to see how audiences react to a live performance of the play as it faces taboos head on, in an ever-changing Saudi Arabia.