The Gaza production of our Palestinian love story Tales of a City by the Sea which is soon be staged in Melbourne and in the West Bank, has fallen causality to Israel’s most recent war.
The play, which was set to premier in Gaza, the West Bank and Melbourne at the same time this November explores Palestinian life and love under siege and against the backdrop of Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008-09. Never did we imagine that we would be staging the play at a time when Gaza has just faced a far more brutal assault that has reduced more than half of the city into rubble and has caused so many deaths and injuries.
Our Gaza team, who were set to begin rehearsals this month, have suffered the loss of loved ones, the total destruction of their beloved neighborhoods and the absolute terror of 50 days of constant and indiscriminate bombardment. The situation in Gaza today is far worst than ever before.
Unfortunately, given the widespread devastation the city has been left with, the psychological trauma the people are reeling from and the inadequacy of even the most basic of infrastructure, the staging of the play in Gaza has been postponed.
In Melbourne as in the West Bank, the production of this play has become more important than ever. Both at the La Mama theatre in Melbourne and at the Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank, we are now determined to bring the tales of the people of Gaza to life by using theatre as a means of raising awareness and encouraging ‘beautiful resistance’, an expression coined by Alrowwad’s director Abdelfattah Abusrour.
So with heavy hearts we will continue this project without our Gaza partners. This defiant old city by the sea Gaza deserves to have its theatre; its artists deserve to have space for their creativity and its people deserve to have normal lives. But none of that seems to be possible in the face of the ongoing military occupation, the siege, the bombardment and with the complicity of a silent world.
As we move forward with our productions in Melbourne and in the West Bank, we would like to dedicate our efforts to raising awareness about the plight of the people in Gaza. We hope we can count on your continued support.
Premiering November 11, 2014, Tales of a City by the Sea, a Palestinian story of love and separation will be brought to life on three different stages in three cities, in two languages (Arabic and English) within three different artistic interpretations. This is not just a play, it is an act of beautiful resistance.
Tales of a City by the Sea will be staged by La Mama in Melbourne Australia, AlRowwad theatre in Aida refugee camp in the West Bank and by Ashtar theatre in Gaza city.
Please help us make this dream possible.
Fundraising for the Palestinian productions is done in partnership with Olive Kids
All donations from this campaign will be used for the Palestinian productions in Gaza and in the West Bank. Any surplus proceeds from the Palestinian productions will be used to sponsor youth projects in Palestine, including literature award for youth writers and workshops to promote freedom of expression through art.
Synopsis Tales of a City by the Sea is a unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza strip prior to, during and after its bombardment during the winter of 2008. Jomana, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza falls in love with Rami, an American born Palestinian doctor and activist who arrives on the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with many challenges forcing Rami to make incredible decisions the least of which is to take a dangerous journey through the underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt. Although on the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora Palestinians and Palestinians under occupation, there is a broader and more universal theme that emerges – one of human survival and tenacity. Tales of a City by the Sea avoids political pitfalls, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story of the people in Gaza. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of real stories the author Samah Sabawi and her family have experienced during the events of the past several years. Sabawi has written most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.
About the playwright Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Canadian-Australian writer, commentator and playwright. She has travelled the world and lived in its far corners, yet always felt as though she was still trapped in her place of birth Gaza. The war torn besieged and isolated strip has shaped her understanding of her identity and her humanity. So what else could Sabawi do but to indulge in Gaza’s overwhelming presence and to succumb to tell the stories of her loved ones back home. Her most recent play Tales of a City by the Sea is dedicated to them and to all of those who still manage to have faith and hope even as the sky rains death and destruction.
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