What is 48 Hour Forum?

Noor's annual forty-eight hour play festival where a diverse roster of artists are invited to spin our most talked about Middle Eastern-themed news events into humorous, incisive "theatrical op-eds." Taking place each May, five playwrights, five directors, and a company of actors gather over 48 hours in a race to create theater as fast as a news cycle. An audience favorite!

"All the plays addressed thorny issues of violence and despair with surprising degrees of lightness and humor—a reminder that theatre about even the darkest topic doesn’t have to be heavy-spirited or preachy." - American Theatre Magazine


"Bold, fearless, and provocative, these five plays are nothing short of remarkable, and prove that theatre can indeed be timely, relevant, urgent, and uncompromisingly critical."  - Muftah Magazine


48 Hour Forum: The Process

Over two days, playwrights, directors and actors from diverse backgrounds assemble to create a short play inspired by a news event. Check out a bit of their process.

Babel, by Leila Buck

Pediatrician, by Laith Nakli

Sleepover, by Kara Lee Corthron

Politics in Bed, by David Zellnik

5th Annual

48 Hour Forum

May 27 - 28, 2019

Playwrights Ty Defoe, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Stefani Kuo, Mona Mansour, Sanaz Toossi
Directors Shayok Misha Chowdhury, Estefania Fadul, Tracy Cameron Francis, Taylor Reynolds, Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Actors Anita Abdinezhad, Alton Alburo*, Bonnie Antosh, Valeria Avina, Tay Bass, Amanda Centeno, Gamze Ceylan*, Hana Chamoun, Diane Chen, Xandra Nur Clark, Esra Dayani*, Lindsley Howard, Gulshan Mia*, Reynaldo Piniella*, Cristina Pitter*, Mouna R'miki, Rudy Roushdi*, Pascale Seigneurie, Henu Josephine Tarrant, Jennifer Tchiakpe

Lighting Design Kelly Rudolph
Sound Design Elia Chuaqui
Guest Producing Artist Noelle Ghoussaini
Producing Associate Emma Orme
Production Stage Manager Courtney Leggett
Assistant Stage Manager Michael Higgins

*Appeared courtesy of Actors' Equity Association 

The Welcoming Committee

By Sanaz Toossi
Directed by Taylor Reynolds

With Anita Abdinezhad, Gamze Ceylan*, Hana Chamoun, Jennifer Tchiakpe
Headline: "Meet the Iranian youth exporting Persian culture to the world," Al Jazeera, May 16, 2019


By Stefani Kuo
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

With Bonnie Antosh, Valeria Avina, Diane Chen, Cristina Pitter*
Headline: "German Parliament Deems B.D.S. Movement Anti-Semitic," The New York Times, May 17, 2019

The Grove

By Monet Hurst-Mendoza
Directed by Estefanía Fadul

With Alton Alburo*, Rudy Roushdi*, Pascale Seigneurie, Henu Josephine Tarrant
Headline: "’Idlib is a bargaining chip’: civilians brace as Assad air assault escalates," The Guardian, May 23, 2019

Basketball is ‘War, Minus the Shooting’

By Ty Defoe
Directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury

With Tay Bass, Amanda Centeno, Reynaldo Piniella*, Mouna R’miki
Headline: "Basketball is ‘War, Minus the Shooting’ in Sectarian Lebanon," The New York Times, May 16, 2019

Getting the Guns Over There: a play in four short acts

By Mona Mansour
Directed by Tracy Cameron Francis

With Xandra Nur Clark, Esra Dayani*, Lindsley Howarrd, Gulshan Mia*
Headline: "Trump to sidestep Congress to clear arms deals benefitting Saudi Arabia, UAE," The Washington Post, May 24, 2019

Spring 2018

4th Annual

48 Hour Forum

May 21 - 23, 2018

Playwrights Sevan K. Greene, Aeneas Sagar Hemphill, Amina Henry, Michele Lowe, Melisa Tien
Directors Jessica Blank, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Ralph Peña, Kholoud Sawaf, Kim Weild
Actors Tala Ashe*, Veracity Butcher, May Calamawy*, Grace Canahuati, Dan Domingues*, Isra Elsalihie, Cleo Gray, Welsey T. Jones*, Amel Khalil, Aaron Lynn*, Sharina Martin*, Nikki Massoud*, J.D. Mollison*, Thomas Muccioli, Marjan Neshat*, Leta Renée-Alan, Kesav Wable*
Lighting Design Reza Behjat
Sound Design Elia Chuaqui
Production Manager Thomas Dooley
Production Stage Manager Courtney Leggett
Assistant Stage Manager Kelly Kirby

*Appeared courtesy of Actors' Equity Association


The Expiration Date

By Michele Lowe
Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

With Tala Ashe*, May Calamawy*, Kesav Wable*
Headline: "Yemen Cholera Cases Reach One Million," BBC News, December 21, 2017

the red balloon

By Aeneas Sagar Hemphill
Directed by Jessica Blank

With Grace Canahuati, Isra Elsalihie, Sharina Martin*
Headline: "Israelis Kill More Than 50 Palestinians in Gaza Protests, Health Officials Say," The Washington Post, May 14, 2018


By Sevan K. Greene
Directed by Kim Weild

With Veracity Butcher, Aaron Lynn*, Nikki Massoud*, J.D. Mollison*
Headline: "Mo Salah of Liverpool Breaks Down Cultural Barriers, One Goal at a Time," The New York Times, May 2, 2018

Paint me a picture, sing me a song

By amina henry
Directed by ralph peña

With Cleo Gray, Wesley T. Jones*, Thomas Muccioli
Headline: "Once Enslaved by ISIS, These Yazidi Women Are Rebuilding Their Lives," NBC News, September 24, 2017

The big pull out

By melisa tien
Directed by kholoud sawaf

With Dan Domingues*, Amel Khalil, Marjan Neshat*, Leta Renée-Alan
Headline: "Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Iran Nuclear Deal and Announces Sweeping New Economic Sanctions," L.A. Times, May 8, 2018

Spring 2017

3rd Annual

48 Hour Forum

May 15 - 16, 2017

Playwrights Ghazi Albuwili, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Marcus Gardley, Edessa Tailo & Winter Miller; Directors Kareem Fahmey, Raelle Myrick Hodges, Johanna McKeon, Mei Ann Teo & Jose Zayas; Actors Ali Andre Ali, Erin Anderson, Hend Ayoub, Rajesh Bose, Nathaniel Claridad, Darian Dauchan, Clea DeCrane, Lynette Freeman, Sarah Nina Hayon, Lanna Joffrey, KeiLyn Jones, Michele Rafic, Eileen Rivera, Norman Schneider, Kirya Traber & Sturgis Warner

Lighting Design Joe Thompson
Sound Design Emily Auciello
Production Manager Thomas Dooley
Production Stage Manager Lyndsey Turtletaub
Assistant Stage Manager Alyssa Howard


By Edessa Tailo
Directed by Kareem Fahmy

With Ali Andre Ali, Rajesh Bose & Lynette Freeman
Headline: "Cellphones in Hand, Saudi Women Challenge Notions of Male Control" New York Times, April 21, 2017


By Ghazi Albuwili
Directed by Raelle Myrick Hodges

With Clea DeCrane & Darian Dauchan
Headline: "Chemical Attack Kills 22 Members of Single Family in Syria" AP, April 5, 2015

When hunger is the best sauce

By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Jose Zayas

With Sarah Nina Hayon, KeiLyn Jones, Jon Norman Schneider & Kirya Traber
Headline: "Palestinian Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike" Al Jazeera, April 17, 2015

Les Justins Trudeaus

By Winter Miller
Directed by Mei Ann Teo

With Erin Anderson, Hend Ayoub, Michele Rafic & Sturgis Warner
Headline: "The Six Syrian Refugee Families Who Named Their Babies After Justin Trudeau" Huffington Post, May 11, 2017

Of RUin: A song for younus

By Mashuq Mushtaq Deen
Directed by Johanna McKeon

With Nathaniel Claridad, Lanna Joffrey & Eileen Rivera
Headline: "Violinist of Mosul Returns to Play Amid Ruins of His City" The Telegraph, April 20, 2017

Spring 2016

2nd Annual

48 Hour Forum

May 16 - 17, 2016

Playwrights Clare Barron, Leila Buck, Kara Lee Corthron, Laith Nakli & David Zellnik; Directors   Carlos Armesto, Nelson Eusebio, Sanaz Ghajarrajimi, Orly Noa Rabinyan, Pirronne Yousefzadeh; Actors Francis Benhamou, Drae Campbell, Aysan Celik, Erin Cherry, Mike Crane, Amr El-Bayoumi, RJ Foster, Nino Marzuqa, Eric T. Miller, Bobby Moreno, Sade Namei, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Imran Sheihk, David Shih, Haddi Tabbal & Eden Zane

Lighting Design Joe Thompson
Sound Design Emily Auciello
Associate Producer Kate Moore Heaney
Production Manager Thomas Dooley
Production Stage Manager Brenden Cullen
Assistant Stage Manager Alyssa Howard


By Kara Lee Corthron
Directed By Sanaz Ghajarrajimi

With Sade Namei, Haddi Tabbal, David Shih and Eric T. Miller
Headline: "Chechen Girls Troll ISIS with Fake Bride Scam" The Daily Beast, July 29, 2015

Politics in bed

By David Zellnik
Directed By Pirronne Yousefzadeh

With Francis Benhamou, Nino Marzuqa and Mike Crane
Headline: "Israel Releases 12-Year-Old Palestinian Girl From Jail" Al Jazeera, April 24, 2016


By Leila Buck
Directed By Orly Noa Rabinyan

With Erin Cherry, Bobby Moreno and Lynne Marie Rosenberg
Headline: "College Student is Removed From Flight After Speaking Arabic on Plane" New York Times, April 17, 2016


By Laith Nakli
Directed By Carlos Armesto

With RJ Foster, Eden Zane and Imran Sheihk
Headline: "Airstrike on Aleppo Hospital Kills Last Pediatrician in Syria's Largest City" Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2016

Trump Dreams

By Clare Barron
Directed ByNelson Eusebio

With Aysan Celik, Drae Campbell and Amr El-Bayoumi
Headline: "Would Donald Trump Let the Muslim Mayor of London Visit the United States?" The Nation, May 6, 2016

Spring 2015

1st Annual

48 Hour Forum

May 15, 2015

Playwrights Keith Josef Adkins, Ismail Khalidi, Mona Mansour, John Walch & Pia Wilson; Directors Peter Ganim, Shana Gold, Noelle Ghoussaini, Victor Malana Maog & Erin Mee; Actors Michael Braun, LaCrisha Brown, Leila Buck, Caitlin Cassidy, Demosthenes Chrysan, Gamze Ceylan, Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Ramsey Faragallah, Aaaron Costa Ganis, Connie Hall, Russell G. Jones, Nadine Malouf, Lori Parquet, Jesse Perez, Christina Pumariega & Steven Rattazzi

Lighting Design Joe Thompson
Production Manager Thomas Dooley
Production Stage Manager Lindsey Turtletaub
Assistant Stage Manager Alyssa Howard

Spring 2015


By Keith Josef Adkins
Directed By Noelle Ghoussaini

With LaChrisha Brown, Leila Buck, and Lori Parque
Headline: "UN Calls on Western Nations to Shelter Syrian Refugees" New York Times, April 15, 2015


By John Walch
Directed By Peter Ganim

With Ramsey Faragallah, Connie Hall, and Russell G. Jones
Headline: "Her Majesty's Jihadists: More British Muslims have Joined Islamic Militant Groups than Serve in the Country's Armed Forces" New York Times Magazine, April 14, 2015


By Ismail Khalidi
Directed By Victor Malana Maog

With Caitlin Cassidy, Gamze Ceylan, and Demosthenes Chrysan
Headline: "On Nabka Day, Pope Francis Gives Palestinians Symbolic Victory" Newsweek, May 15, 2015


By Pia Wilson
Directed By Shana Gold

With Nadine Malouf, Jesse Perez, and Steven Rattazzi
Headline: "Egypt Honors Mother Who Dressed As A Man For 43 Years to Provide for Family" Al Arabiya, March 15, 2015


By Mona Mansour
Directed By Erin Mee

With Michael Braun, Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Aaron Costa Ganis, and Christina Pumariega. Voice over by Ryah Aqel.
Headline: "One Nation Under Allah: Fury After School Recites Pledge in Arabic" Fox News, March 20, 2015