Illinois Tech chemical engineering professor also accomplished playwright

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local college professor navigates between the scientific and artistic worlds, shaping minds and sharing culture as he has an impact in the classroom and on the stage.

Dr. Fouad Teymour has been teaching complicated theories and formulas for 27 years, but during that time he's also been writing plays that reach across various cultures.

By day, Teymour is a popular professor of chemical engineering at Illinois Tech on the Near South Side, immersing young minds in scientific knowledge.

"Basically, what I do is teach, do research, interact with students, advise, do administrative work," He said. "It all involves making student life better and teaching them and shaping them into future engineers."

But Dr. Teymour has another passion. The Egyptian-born professor is also an accomplished playwright, and said engineering and writing for the theater actually have similarities.

"They are both mediums that involve bringing ideas to the classroom or to the literature or to a stage in theater and conveying it to people in a way that makes them engaged," Teymour explained.

His latest work, titled "Twice, Thrice, Frice," is being produced by Chicago's Silk Road Rising Theater in conjunction with the International Voices Project. It's a comedy involving three Arab-American Muslim women dealing with issues like infidelity and even polygamy.

The play aims to break down cultural barriers and preconceptions.

"These are layered, they are not your stereotypical women, they are not your stereotypical Muslim women, which I think is really valuable for people to see on stage for everyone," said actress Catherine Dildilian.

"The more variety we see on Chicago stages and American stages, the more variety we are going to see in our audience and we need to speak to that diversity that's an important part of the American DNA," said director Patrizia Acerra.

And just what is the cultural lesson this chemical engineering professor is hoping to teach?

"It's very easy to demonize people if you don't know them," Teymour said.

Professor Teymour's play is in previews this week and the actual run is from Oct. 13 through November 10 at the Silk Road Rising Theater at 77 West Washington Street, the lower level of the historic Chicago Temple.
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