A Knock on the Roof


By Khawla Ibraheem
Directed by Oliver Butler
A co-production with piece by piece productions
Presented in partnership with Under the Radar
Winter 2025

2024/25 Season

Read Synopsis

Set the timer. The everyday existence of a mother during a sweltering summer vacation: prepare meals, pack the bag, run the drill, repeat. With a dry wit and the determination of an Olympian, Mariam meticulously practices for the run of her life—the dreaded knock on the roof. Written by and starring Khawla Ibraheem, this unforgettable new play about obsession, survival and everyday life in Gaza is directed by NYTW Usual Suspect and Obie Award winner Oliver Butler (What the Constitution Means to Me).

A Knock on the Roof is a co-production with piece by piece productions and is presented in partnership with the 20th edition of Under the Radar (Mark Russell, Festival Director & ArKtype, Festival Producer).

Khawla Ibraheem / Playwright

Khawla Ibraheem is a playwright, actor, and director based in Majdal Shams, in the occupied Golan Heights. She is a regular at many theatres in Palestine, including El Hakawati (the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem, The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, and Al Jawal Theatre in Sakhnin. Ibraheem’s recent project, London Jenin, was a collaboration with The Freedom Theatre for which she won Best Director and Best Script at the Palestinian National Theatre Festival.

Outside of Palestine, she has collaborated with many theatres and institutions, including as a fellow at Macdowell and as an artist-in-residence at the Sundance Theatre Lab, where she met longtime collaborator, director Oliver Butler. Ibraheem was also commissioned by Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies as part of a series of new radio plays written by Palestinian playwrights.

Oliver Butler / Director

Oliver Butler  (he/him) is a theatre director who grew up in New England and is now based in Queens, NY. He directed the critically-acclaimed Broadway premiere of Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me (Best Play Tony Award Nomination, Obie Award Winner, Lucille Lortel Award Nomination, Drama League Award Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination; and Drama Desk Award Nomination; Finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), a film version of which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. He directed the off-Broadway premiere of A Bright New Boise by Sam Hunter at Signature Theatre Company. Other recent credits include: the World Premiere of Hester Street in Washington D.C., the NYC premiere of Will Eno’s GNIT at Theatre for a New Audience, the world premiere of Will Eno’s The Plot at Yale Repertory Theatre; the world premiere of Jordan Harrison’s The Amateurs at The Vineyard; the West Coast Premiere of Will Eno’s Thom Pain (based on nothing) starring Rainn Wilson at The Geffen Playhouse; and the triumphant return of Thom Pain (based on nothing) to New York starring Michael C. Hall at the Signature Theatre Company. Additional career highlights include: Itamar Moses’s The Whistleblower at Denver Center, Christopher Shinn’s An Opening in Time at Hartford Stage, Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy at Williamstown Theatre Festival, the world premiere of Timeshare by Lally Katz at The Malthouse in Melbourne, and the world premiere of Will Eno’s The Open House (OBIE Award for Direction; Lortel Award, Best Play) at the Signature Theatre Company. He is a co-founder and co-artistic director of The Debate Society with whom he has directed 10 premieres in 15 years including The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons), Jacuzzi (Ars Nova), and Blood Play (Bushwick Starr). He is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a Bill Foeller Fellow (Williamstown). He’s a long-distance hiker who recently covered 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail and adventured near the Arctic circle in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve known as “The Iceland of Iceland.”