Skip to main content


Directing Thesis | May 1 & May 11-12, 2021

A dark stage with spotlights on four actors - one lying face down and three standing above.

Photo by Martin Tomlinson

The Swarthmore College Department of Theater presents an Honors Thesis in directing by Theater major Zaina Dana '21. 

Fueled by nightmares the author had while writing this play, WHY ARE YOU KILLING YOURSELF?  weaves together the uncovered words of Osama Bin Laden and doomsday political philosopher Jean Baudrillard with original text to take an honest look at 21st century Arab-American identity. This hour-long performance follows the self-destructive path of a young woman as she attempts to make sense of herself and her upbringing in a bizarre post-9/11 America, heavily shaped by events before her time.

This spectacular show of resistance and perseverance was broadcast to Zoom from the Frear Ensemble Theater for one night only on May 1 at 8pm. As part of a special collaboration with sound designer Michael Nutt ’23, a version of the show adapted for radio was streamed at virtual listening events on May 11 & 12 at 8pm.  

This production was made possible by the generous support of the Honors Program. 

Runtime: 1 hour, followed by a talk back with the creative team
Content Warning: suicide, terrorism, mentions of sexual violence & strong language 

Questions? Contact Jillian Jetton at

Cast & Crew

Featuring: Raya Tuffaha '23, Shail Modi '22, Timothy St. Pierre '21 & Jake Chanenson '21

Written, Directed & Set Designed by Zaina Dana '21
Sound Design by Michael Nutt '23
Lighting Design by James P. Murphy
Costume Design by Laila Swanson
Dramaturgy by Clare Grundstein '20
Stage Management by Michael Lambui
Assistant Stage Management by Cynthia Ruimin Shi '23
Faculty Advisors: Allen Kuharski & Elizabeth Atkinson 

Poster by Sam Thuman

WAYKY Poster

A blue spotlight shines down on the silhouette of a person holding a machine gun and the words "Why Are You Killing Yourself?"