Heather Raffo, Lanna Joffrey, Francis Benhamou, Babak Tafti, and Ali Reza Farahnakian; photo by Joan Marcus


Ali Reza Farahnakian, Francis Benhamou, Babak Tafti, Tala Ashe, and Heather Raffo; photo by Joan Marcus


Babak Tafti, Lanna Joffrey, and Ramsey Faragallah; photo by Joan Marcus


Ali Reza Farahnakian and Babak Tafti; photo by Joan Marcus


Lanna Joffrey, Tala Ashe, and Francis Benhamou; photo by Joan Marcus


Zayd Dohrn photo by Zack DeZon


The Profane

Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Written by Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Kip Fagan

World Premiere
2016 Horton Foote Prize winner

Safe in the liberal fortress of Manhattan, Raif Almedin is a first-generation immigrant who prides himself on his modern, enlightened views. But when his daughter falls for the son of a conservative Muslim family in White Plains, he discovers the threshold of his tolerance. In Zayd Dohrn’s sharp and timely tale, two families are forced to confront each other’s religious beliefs and cultural traditions, and to face their own deep-seated prejudice.

There will be a talkback after many performances of The Profane, featuring various members of the cast and Playwrights staff. View the Calendar + Info for talkback dates.

Tala Ashe — Emina
Francis Benhamou — Aisa/Dania
Ramsey Faragallah — Peter
Ali Reza Farahnakian — Raif
Lanna Joffrey — Carmen
Heather Raffo — Naja
Babak Tafti — Sam

Scenic Design: Takeshi Kata
Costume Design: Jessica Pabst
Lighting Design: Matt Frey
Sound Design: Brandon Wolcott
Production Stage Manager: Shane Schnetzler

 Design Team Bios

The Profane is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.




Trailer: The Profane

Two families — joined by an engagement — are forced to confront each other’s beliefs and traditions, and to face their own deep-seated prejudice.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Playwright's Perspective: The Profane

The two families in The Profane are American. They’re also immigrants, as most Americans are or were, somewhere back in the family tree, navigating the difficulties of assimilation, holding onto some of their traditions and altering others, trying to maintain an authentic identity while becoming something new.


From the Artistic Director: The Profane

The action in The Profane starts when the daughter of super-urbane and secular Arab-American writer, Raif, announces her engagement to the son of traditional, working-class Arab-American parents. Plays about lovers from divergent backgrounds abound in the history of the theater. We all love a happy ending. But most often, when playwrights introduce marriages into their plays, they are looking for trouble.


The American Voice: Permanent Revolution

“The Profane” reflects Zayd’s international perspective, his cosmopolitan sensibility, and his keen sensitivity to the often unspoken dynamics that can unite or divide people from different worlds. It is also, like others of his plays, a story about the sometimes maddening difficulty of being a parent.


Backstory: The Law of the Land

“Who are the secular humanists?” Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, asks. “Perhaps,” he proposes, “everyone who believes in the principles of free inquiry, ethics based upon reason, and a commitment to science, democracy, and freedom. Perhaps even you.”