Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Valerie Laken

Committee Members

George Clark, Liam Callanan, Caroline Seymou-Jorn, Andrew Kincaid


Madame Bandar’s Theatre of Love, a comedic bildungsroman, follows the life of Omar Aladdine in the 1960s and ‘70s as he navigates the historic red-light district in downtown Beirut. At eighteen, Omar works at his father’s grocery store on Mutanabi Street, which is lined with brothels. He becomes enamored with the prostitutes at Madame Bandar’s Theatre of Love, where plays and musical performances are staged, and begins to write romantic plays for the brothel. But when civil war breaks out in the spring of 1975, Mutanabi Street is caught in the crossfire. The fate of Madame Bandar’s and all the prostitutes is at risk, as well as Omar’s newfound sense of home.