Excerpt from the Lower East Side Biography Project

Steve Zehentner: Producer, Director of Photography

Bina Sharif is an award winning Pakistani American playwright/actress/director/performer and a visual artist. She has over 25 plays produced in USA, Pakistan and Europe. She is a Joseph Jefferson award nominee actress from Chicago’s Goodman Theater.

Her highly acclaimed post Sept 11 play, Afghan Woman opened in NYC In 2002 and was performed in UK, Pakistan, Hawaii, Belgium, and in many universities such as Princeton, Wellesly College, UPENN, Ohio State University, Denver Colorado, Champagne Ill, Toronto, Temple University, Montclair University, Sacramento CA and prestigious Islamabad Club Pakistan. Afghan Woman is not yet translated into Arabic but an excerpt of it was published in a book called, Shattering the Stereotypes in the USA.

Her full length play called, My Ancestor’s House was published in an anthology, Contemporary American Plays by Women of Color by Ruttledge Press and is being taught in many universities in America and abroad. The follow up of, My Ancestor’s House, a play called, Another Journey Home/Eight Dialogues in a Mirror Cracked was produced in 2010 in NYC and Pakistan.

Her Play, Sleeping with Horses was comissioned and produced by Mabou Mines and eventually was invited to a theater festival, Desh Pardesh Theater Festival in Toronto. Her play, Kill, a response to the first Persian Gulf War was produced in 1991 and the her second play about the Iraq War was produced in 2006. It was titled, Republic of Iqra.

Her most poetic and a personal favorite play about the British Raj as a feverish love story between an English man and an Indian woman called, One Thousand Hours of Love was produced in 1992 and was brought back in 1993 for a second run at Theatre for the New City in New York where many of her plays have been produced.

Ms. Sharif holds an MD degree from Pakistan and a masters in Public Health from John Hopkins USA. She is the founder and publisher of a theatre and film blog, Arts International. She also is the Artistic Director of a theatre company called Lower Levels of Society, which started as a salon in her own Manhattan apartment.

The above text was excerpted from
For more information on Bina,

The Bina Sharif Biography was produced by The Lower East Side Biography Project and was edited and directed by Vanessa McDonnell in collaboration with Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner. This excerpt was edited by Steve Zehentner.
Steve Zehentner: Producer, Director of Photography, Editor
Penny Arcade: Producer, Interviewer
Vanessa McDonnell: Director/Editor, Second Camera

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive work to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed over sixty 28-minute programs, and videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The completed biographies cablecast and stream live every Monday at 11 p.m EST, in Manhattan on Time Warner 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and live stream on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.

View the current cablecast and livestream schedule on the project's Facebook page.