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Twice, Thrice, Frice...

COMEDY/DRAMA

Twice, Thrice, Frice...
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2020 Jeff Award Nomination: Best New Play!

The bonds of friendship between three Arab American Muslim women are strained when news of an affair involving one of their husbands comes to light. As successive layered discoveries unfold, each of the women is forced to reassess and negotiate her personal beliefs against cultural, religious, and patriarchal norms governing their individuality in the greater community setting. With humor and mischief, Twice, Thrice, Frice… explores issues of fidelity, sexuality, and faith. 


SYNOPSIS


Amira and Khadija regularly get together for dinner at one of their homes, along with Hassan and Ramzi, their respective husbands. Younger Samara, whose late mother was a close friend of Khadija’s, is often included. After one such dinner, as the women clean up in Amira’s kitchen, they engage in a conversation about polygamy and religion. Their discussion parallels an ongoing argument among the men in the living room, who on this occasion include Ramzi’s younger brother, Youssef. Amira’s aggressive liberal views on all things religious, make Samara—a Muslim adherent in Hijab—uncomfortable. Amira quotes the Qur’an, the Prophet, science, and even consults her trusty voice-activated assistant, Dalila. Samara counters with religion-based arguments emphasizing sanctity and boundaries. Khadija, whose beliefs are more traditional, participates infrequently, but accidently drags in the overused “infertility” trope. The tense response from Amira forewarns of a secret never shared with Samara. Eventually, as the conversation reaches an impasse they decide to serve dessert. First, to restore calm to their evening, Amira recites a few verses from an obvious strong influence in her life, Kahlil Gibran. 

Two days later, Amira and Khadija meet at Khadija’s home. Each of their husbands is traveling; Ramzi to an academic conference in San Francisco and Hassan on a “Doctors Without Borders” mission to Iraq.  When Samara arrives and starts showing them her shopping, Amira snoops and pulls out a silk red sexy lingerie item. Samara, embarrassed, swears that she only bought it for her own enjoyment. Khadija uses the opportunity to inform her of Youssef’s interest in courting her. Taken by surprise, Samara struggles to find an excuse out of this situation citing career, religion, and her mother’s wishes. Khadija keeps pushing obliviously and eventually Samara breaks up in tears. Amira interjects to end the discussion and, offers Samara a ride home. 

Amira and Samara stop at a coffee shop on the way home. They have a heart to heart that makes each better appreciate the other’s views and beliefs. When Amira has to leave suddenly for a real estate showing Samara stays behind. She calls a mystery person to pick her up. 

A day later, Amira examines her new painting “Three Arab Women”, depicting Samara crying and Khadija smoking Argeeleh, and inspired by the previous day’s events. Through Dalila, she messages “Ali Baba”, a fellow artist on an art forum she belongs to, asking for a critique. When her next door neighbor, Janet, approaches, Amira exits to greet her. 

The next day, Amira visits Khadija to convey the news from Janet, who saw Ramzi—supposed to be out of town—checking out of a suburban hotel. A woman was waiting in his car. Khadija, who had nagging yet unfounded suspicions, erupts in a fit of wailing and keening, lamenting her fortune. Amira attempts to calm her down and promises that, together, they will figure things out. 

A few days later, Amira pays a surprise visit to Samara’s studio apartment. She confronts her with knowledge that Ramzi has just left her place after spending the night there. Samara starts out denying, then tries to fabricate excuses. Amira insists she has a photo of Ramzi leaving. When she unties Samara’s robe and reveals the red nightie underneath, Samara, infuriated, throws her out. Afterwards, she calls Ramzi and tells him, through loud sobs, “Amira was here. She knows!” 

The next morning Samara visits Amira, before she has a chance to act on the information. She admits to falling in love with Ramzi in a moment of weakness, but claims to be ending the relationship after awakening to the hard reality of the situation. When Amira exits momentarily, Samara finds “Three Arab Women”, and messages from Ali Baba she mistakenly assumes point to mischief. She takes a picture on her phone. After Amira returns, Samara asks her to withhold the truth from Khadija. Amira reluctantly agrees to hold off for three days. 

Soon after, Samara visits her “Khalto” (auntie) Khadija to give her solace over the news that Ramzi was seen with a woman. While being gentle and sweet with her friend, she also manages to sow doubts over the story and even relays a “rumor” she heard that Amira is involved with a man on the internet. “Ask her who is Ali Baba?” As Khadija hugs Samara before she leaves, she notices her perfume and comments that she smells good. Both women are left weighed down by obvious worries. 

Meanwhile, Amira convinces Khadija to come stay with her for a few days. Khadija tells Ramzi she’s in Ohio, visiting her sister. Over coffee and cake they discuss Samara’s perfume preferences, Khadija’s reluctance to confront Ramzi, and Amira’s worries after news of a fatal bombing in Iraq. Khadija’s casual question about Ali Baba, elicits a hurt and angry response from Amira. Amira realizes Samara’s scheme against her and decides to forgo the grace period. She guides Khadija to focus on the perfume smell bothering her. Khadija slowly makes the painful realization that Samara is the woman in her husband’s life. Amira promises to arrange a confrontation. 

Amira baits Samara into coming over to her house with the lure of exchanging “incriminating” evidence. She manages to make Samara admit her relationship with Ramzi within earshot of Khadija, hiding in the den. An intense tussle ensues as Khadija storms in and lunges at Samara. Amira intervenes and prevents further escalation. Barraged by insults and accusations, Samara breaks a promise to Ramzi and drops a bombshell, “Ramzi and I are married!”. The local Imam married them, three months prior, in accordance with “Allah’s Sharia and the Sunna of his Prophet.” Amira quickly points out the illegal nature of this action, but Samara counters that they have used their God given religious rights. Khadija exits overwhelmed with emotions. Amira grabs Samara by the hair and throws her out. Samara protests with loud knocking as her Hijab was left behind, but Amira refuses to give it to her. When Samara’s knocking persists, Khadija reemerges and, ridden with conflicted feelings, hands her the scarf through the door without looking in her face. 

The next day, Khadija and Samara dissect the angles and consequences of the situation. Amira believes Khadija has the upper hand with the document that can put Ramzi and Samara in jail, but Khadija is contemplating the exact opposite. She believes that Ramzi did not “cheat” on her since polygamy is religiously sanctioned. She feels experience with polygamy in her overseas family circle will help her “save her marriage”. As the ideological conflict between the two escalates it becomes apparent that Amira is also struggling emotionally. Hassan’s long absence has made her scrutinize every aspect of their life together. Khadija frustrates her further, claiming that her attachment to the life philosophy of Gibran is the source of her unhappiness. A full blown argument erupts between them and, for probably the first time in their long years of friendship, they part on bad terms. 

Two phone conversations alternate on stage but occur in neither the same time nor the same space. On one hand, Samara is tensely talking to Ramzi as he conveys news of his intent to divorce her, on the other, Amira talks to Hassan who is at an army base in Amsterdam for debriefing. Samara protests Ramzi’s plan, but he appears set on his decision. Amira is disturbed by the possibility of further delays in Hassan’s return home. Both women are left longing for being with their respective lovers. 

Khadija is back at Amira’s place after spending a weekend with her daughter, Lobna, visiting home from college. Amira is still smarting, but Khadija wants to share happy news. After they make up, she retells the story of her weekend and how she recruited her grownup children to confront Ramzi who, after being cornered, acquiesced to divorce Samara. Amira congratulates her but insists that she will not let her move back until the divorce is official. 

Two months later, Hassan is back, Khadija still lives at Amira’s house, and nothing has transpired on the Samara divorce front. Khadija has obviously changed and seems to be starting to take charge of her life. As Ramzi keeps making excuses for the delay, she is considering what she would do if things do not go as planned. It turns out she does not have to wait long. After Amira leaves on a run to the store, Khadija is visited by Samara come to ask for forgiveness. When Khadija realizes that Samara is pregnant, Samara proclaims, “It’s a boy!” naively expecting congratulations. Khadija is stunned, but, in a swift return to instincts, she takes control, orders Samara to sit still, summons Amira back, and dials Ramzi, then gives him the business. Eventually, she tells him to go to hell, hangs up, and explodes in a uncontrollable fit of sobbing. Samara claiming her pregnancy was an unplanned mistake, offers to do whatever possible to fix things between her and her “khalto”. Amira is infuriated to find Samara in her house. She asks her to leave but Khadija seeks to understand her plan. Samara pleads that her unborn son, a brother to Khadija’s children, should not grow estranged from his family, proposing they could live like “a big happy family.” Amira quips, “we are not Mormons, we are hotblooded Arab women who pray to Allah to send those who hurt us to the darkest corners of hell.” Eventually, Samara admits that she wants Khadija’s agreement to her seeking a marriage certificate in Egypt as protection for her reputation. Khadija’s “street” smarts turn the tables on Samara with an incredible plan involving surrogacy and adoption of Samara’s son. To give him a “big happy family”. Spurned, Samara realizes her failure and leaves quite upset. Khadija admits she had been trying to save a marriage slowly eroding over time, but now it was time to make changes. Amira says Hassan is also seeking change, pressuring her into adopting an Iraqi child. Khadija quells Amira’s fears about starting motherhood at her age by suggesting they read Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children.” It touches both of their hearts. Finally, in response to a question by Amira, Khadija proclaims that she “does not like” polygamy. 

A tableau composition reminiscent of “Three Arab Women” has the women in separate spaces with each revealing her plans for the future. Amira tells Hassan that she is ready for his adoption idea, Khadija informs Ramzi that she has filed for divorce, and Samara yearns to hold her unborn baby in her arms. The three women are faced with three new beginnings that usher in all the uncertainty of the unknown, but are laced in a hopeful outlook to the future.

QUOTE


In a mere 100 minutes, the playwright introduces the Western world to the often controversial Islamic practice of men taking more than one wife. Teymour’s drama is laced with an abundance of humor, which helps soften the heartbreak that the ladies will experience.

–Chicago Theatre Review


Characters:
Amira – Iraqi American woman. Typical of left-leaning, educated Iraqi women of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Religiously more liberal. Romantic. Adopting a more modern ideology. Almost 40. Married. She is a real estate agent and a visual artist (painter). She checks her phone frequently when expecting real estate business. She is outwardly strong, but is internally troubled by something she cannot pinpoint. She downplays the importance of her, and her husband, being childless.

Khadija – Palestinian American woman. Muslim conservative in the traditional sense. Doesn't always question authority. Mi-40s. Married. She loosely wears a scarf over her head when warranted, but is not a strict Hijab woman. She has a bit of an accent, and has trouble with grammar, but loves to use big words. Her p's come out as light b's, and “ch” frequently becomes “sh” (“shildren,” “sheese”) . Note: accent and diction are only specifically noted for certain words. It is assumed that actor will adopt her own interpretation of the accent.

Samara – Young woman who was born American to parents originally from Egypt. Adherent religious conservative who wasn't always so. Early 30s. Single. She was orphaned young. She wears a veil in the presence of men and in public. She speaks perfect English with no accent. Modernized in certain aspects, but has rigid stances when religion is involved. Typical of first-generation immigrants who are so different from their parents, but who, at certain level, embrace their roots even harder. She had to deal with adversity at a young age that led her to be relatively isolated from peers, but also led her to develop a go-getter personality. She is well accomplished career-wise, but not as much socially.

Dalila – A voice-activated personal assistant owned by Amira. Similar to Echo Alexa. This device has a built-in screen for video and display (like, for example, the Echo Show). The device is physically situated in the kitchen but can communicate in the den (probably through a smaller dot device that does not need to be on stage). [Pronounced: Da-lee-lah] The name is the female version of the Arabic word for "guide." Could be cast with a recorded human voice, but works even better with synthesized voice similar to Alexa. or Siri.

Setting: Chicago. Amira's Kitchen, Khadija's Living Room, Amira's Den, Samara's Studio Apartment, and a coffee shop. America pre-Trump election. Could be as late as mid-2016.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $90.00 performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 
 
Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 
 
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).
 
Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“Given the serious subjects of Twice, Thrice, Frice…, it's surprising how light Teymour keeps this 100-minute play, which has excellent entertainment value.” –Windy City Times

“The story unfolds beautifully and always keeps you guessing. This is of great import as once you begin to see the story unfolding, it is easy to begin to surmise where Teymour is heading. The truth is, you will be wrong!” –Around the Town, Chicago

“If you can get to see it, I am suggesting you clear your calendar to do so. It is a ‘women’s play for women and about women’ but men will enjoy and perhaps even learn something from it.” 
Around the Town, Chicago
 
“In a mere 100 minutes, the playwright introduces the Western world to the often controversial Islamic practice of men taking more than one wife. Teymour’s drama is laced with an abundance of humor, which helps soften the heartbreak that the ladies will experience.” –Chicago Theatre Review

“Fellow feminists might think they need to brace themselves for some sort of thought experiment of sexism vs. cultural sensitivity to grapple with a play that delves into polygamy, as both the title and promotional materials about Twice, Thrice, Frice… suggest. This sister says— have no fear! Expect instead to find in Twice, Thrice, Frice… some of the best female characters you’ve seen on screen or stage in decades! More, you get to marvel that these poster women for female power were drawn so exquisitely by a man— playwright Fouad Teymour. Teymour might not identify as a feminist— this is unknown to this writer— but he sure could teach younger women who balk at the word feminist a thing or two.” –Picture This Post
 
“Offers a fresh, funny, tender feminist perspective on issues of the heart as old as time and agnostic of culture.” –The Broadway Blog
 
“This is a tangled, complicated story of survival, betrayal and moral responsibility. Quality work like Twice, Thrice, Frice... should serve as a reminder that over half of the world's population has a lot of interesting, urgent, universally appealing stories to tell.” –The Broadway Blog

An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date, unless other arrangements have been made in advance with your Stage Rights Licensing Representative.
 
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for TWICE, THRICE, FRICE… consists of:
11 Production Scripts / $140.00 (shipping included)
 
Production Scripts for Plays are professionally printed and bound with a full-color cover.
 
You will have the option to purchase additional Production Scripts at a discounted rate when you complete your Licensing Agreement.
 
Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.
 
Optional Materials:
 
Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.