Draw the Circle

Available in Library

The hilarious and deeply moving story of conservative Muslim mother at her wits end, a Muslim father who likes to tell jokes, and a queer American woman trying to make a good impression on her Indian in-laws. In a story about family and love and the things we do to be together, one immigrant family must come to terms with a child who defies their most basic expectations of what it means to have a daughter... and one woman will redefine the limits of unconditional love.

Told entirely from the point of view of family and friends, yet performed by Deen himself, this unique show compassionately brings to life the often ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.

This play is my most autobiographical piece. It was many years in the making, and was developed primarily in the Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group in 2009. I worked extensively with Chay Yew in the shaping of the final piece, and he directed the world premiere at PlayMakers Rep in August 2016, as North Carolina struggled with its repressive HB2 law.

The play has been performed in theaters and colleges, and I'm particularly proud of the way we've been able to partner with community organizations to facilitate conversations about gender expectations, family pressures, and the specific ways this can impact immigrant communities.

Cast Requirements

There are three ways this play can be produced:
performed by the author
performed by a South Asian actor of ay gender (every effort must be made to look at actors of all genders)
3 actors as follows:
2 or more must be queer or trans identified
2 or more must be actors of color
1 or more must be South Asian
1 or more must be trans masculine

Set Description

scrim & projections
a chair
a long table (for 3-actor version)


Mashuq Mushtaq Deen’s Draw the Circle Is Truly a Tour de Force at PlayMakers Rep

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen is a phenomenal performer. It must be said also that this is not a Sunday sermon; there is not an iota of preachiness here. This is a love story, pure and simple; it just surrounds a very difficult subject.

See More


Master Storyteller Opens PlayMakers' Season: Stunning One-Man Show

With Draw the Circle, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen has created an entire world of a family with flesh and blood problems who struggle mightily to right them, of a place where one's very identity is called into question, and of a life created with a love that will withstand even this. It is a world of tremendous pressure, but also of tremendous promise.

An Anonymous Letter to PlayMakers Repertory Theatre

"We have been receiving so many heartfelt responses from our audience letting us know how deeply moved they have been by Deen’s Draw the Circle. One sent us a note to say, “Though I consider myself very open to life lived in any configuration, I experienced angles I had not understood before. This was a gift.” Another responded by writing us, “Draw the Circle was one of the most profound and life-changing performances I have ever seen.”

Production and Development History

Draw the Circle was first developed in the Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, and had it's first public reading at the Public's Martinson Theater in April of 2010. It was further developed and/or presented at the LARK, NYTW, Dixon Place, the Berkshire Fringe Festival, Passage Theatre, and Queens Theatre in the Park. In April of 2012, the show had its first workshop production at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, and from there was presented Hampshire College (MA), Averett College (VA), PACE University (NY), the Brooklyn BEAT Festival, and Georgetown University (DC).

The show had its world premiere at PlayMaker Rep in Chapel Hill, NC, in August 2016. Upcoming productions include Mosaic Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, and InterAct Theatre. The play will be published by Dramatists Play Service.