Terrorists on Screen, Actors on Stage: Stereotyping Arabs and the Cinema Industry in Contemporary Arab-American Theatre

Cinzia Schiavini

Abstract


This essay investigates the relationship between the representation of Arab Americans, Arab-American cinema, and the cinema industry as a topic in contemporary theatre through the perspective of Arab-American stage performers and playwrights. As a response to the resurgence of stereotypes and the binary representation of the Good vs Bad Muslim in cinema and TV after 9/11, Arab-American playwrights have used the stage to counter-react to ignorance and prejudice by narrating the everyday struggles of Arab-American artists—and actors in particular—against the over-simplifications and requests of the blockbuster cinema industry. In particular the focus will be on two plays: Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes (2014) by Youssef El Guindi, and Browntown (2004) by Sam Younis. Both plays question mainstream culture and prejudices through humorous representations of the role of Arab-American artists within the cinema industry and their struggle for visibility beyond the terrorist mask.


Keywords


Arab; Arab-American theatre; American Cinema; 9/11

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2021.i17.993

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