as soon as



As Soon As Impossible

A New Play by Betty Shamieh

As Soon As Impossible is a comedy that explores the relationship between two older men, Ramsey and Arthur, an Iraqi-American and a WASP. Their annual summer fishing trip is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Ramsey’s granddaughter, Layla, who claims to be on the run. With Arthur’s suspicions raised, Ramsey may get more than he bargained for when he begins to plan Arthur a surprise birthday party. A play about friendship in a time of war. This play was originally commissioned by Second Stage with support from the Time Warner Commissioning Program. Theaterworks of Silicon Valley will be workshopping this play in preparation for the Stanford production in the first half of 2021 under the direction of Samer Al-Saber and the supervision of New Works director Giovanna Sardelli. 


 Stanford TAPS seeks to build a diverse cast for this production and encourages members of any race, gender identity, and ability to audition. If any accessibility accommodations are needed please email for assistance.



Betty Shamieh

BETTY SHAMIEH (Denning Visiting Artist for Spring 2021) is an Arab-American playwright. Her American premieres include: The Black Eyed (New York Theatre Workshop), Fit for a Queen (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Strangest (The Semitic Root), Territories (Magic Theatre) and Roar (The New Group). Selected as a New York Times Critics Pick, Roar is widely taught at universities throughout the United States. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, Shamieh was named a Guggenheim Fellow, UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue, and a Radcliffe Playwriting Fellow. A Mellon Playwright in Residence at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, her works have been translated into seven languages.






Samer Al-Saber

Professor SAMER AL-SABER, Assistant Professor at TAPS, is a director, writer, and scholar. As director, his work was seen in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East and includes the Middle Eastern premier of Arthur Milner’s Facts and an Arabic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His written work appeared in Alt.Theatre, Performance Paradigm, Critical Survey, Theatre Survey, and other academic and trade venues, including the anthology Stories Under Occupation and Other Plays from Palestine, co-edited with Gary English.





Co-taught by Samer Al-Saber and Rush Rehm, Spring TAPS 122P is required for all student actors participating in this production. Available for a variable unit amount (2 to 5) the class will meet by consensus – twice per week during the day 3 hours for each session. Throughout the quarter the course will work towards a script workshop completion with the playwright Roberta Denning Visiting Artist Betty Shamieh, in-class readings of Shamieh’s plays, dramaturgical discussions of the play within the cast and crew, and a public Zoom reading of As Soon As Impossible.



Though the performance will be mounted in the Summer, rehearsals for this production will officially begin in the Spring. Undergraduate actors will need to enroll in TAPS 122P, and agree to a potential in-person Summer term sponsored by a $500/w VPUE Grant for June 21st through September 6th, 2021. 


In addition to Class Time for TAPS 122P, Rehearsals will occur throughout spring quarter: 3-4 rehearsals per week (3 hours each). Interim Rehearsals will occur between June 15 to June 20 as needed. We expect Spring Quarter to remain virtual for the purposes of this project.


Through a $500/w VPUE grant undergraduate students will be sponsored to work Full Time between June 21 — September 6th. Following the show closing on July 17th, collaborative Stanford Repertory Theater work will occur. We expect Summer Quarter will occur in-person at Stanford for the purposes of this project.



Auditions for As Soon As Impossible will be held via Live Zoom Auditions. Actors will be slotted into 45-min to 1-hour long small-group auditions. To be slotted, actors will need to fill out their audition form here.

If you are unable to attend auditions live via zoom, please email for separate accommodations.


The Director has prepared sides, available for viewing/download on this page under “Resources.” Actors should familiarize themselves with all parts on the sides provided.


Multiple casting of characters is under consideration. In this case, actors would play their character “in rep.” Understudies are necessary and needed in this rehearsal process for all four roles.

Layla, Ramsey’s granddaughter, age 18 [might appear black, brown, or white]

Extroverted, confident, and funny. Quick witted with astute, sharp, and sometimes cutting observations of others. Often uses her intellect to deflect her feelings around not belonging and being scared of the future. Layla enjoys playing pranks, seeking revenge, trying to lose her virginity, and fantasizing about marrying rich.

Drew, Arthur’s grandson, age 18 [any ethnicity]

Drew is an old soul who would much rather hang out with grandpas than people his own age. Gentle, starting at Berkeley in the fall, in the closet. Not quite comfortable in his own skin; booksmart and looking forward to finding more of himself at college

Ramsey, an Arab-American man in his late sixties [might appear black, brown, or white] 

Your quintessential professor – gentle, proper, and possibly a little elitist. From the Middle East, teaches Arabic at Berkeley. Just wants his granddaughter to graduate from high school. Sees the generation and cultural gap between him and his granddaughter more and more each day. 

Arthur, an American man in his mid-seventies [will be played by Professor Rush Rehm]

Relies on street and business smarts since college wasn’t for him. Owns a construction business and is doing quite well. Set in his ways, but finds excitement in seeing Layla grab life by the horns. May have voted for George W. Bush — but did he vote for Trump?




Audition Dates

TUE+WED FEB 23+24 from 6-9PM PT


THU FEB 25 from 6-9PM PT

Performance Dates

THU-SAT July 8 -July 17
Roble Studio Theater



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If any accessibility accommodations with auditions or callbacks are needed please email for assistance.

Access to technology (or lack thereof) will in no way be a barrier or hindrance to being a part of this production, and the artistic team will work together to ensure that everyone who is accepted into the cast may participate.