AFOPA theatre reviews

Mar 21, 2018No Comments »

Reviews of the two Palestinian theatre productions at this year’s Adelaide Festival, by Dr David Faber, Executive Member of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA).



Written & Directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi
Adelaide Festival 2018

Based on personal experience of grieving the illness and death of his father, Amir Nizar Zuabi, Artistic Director of the ShiberHur company which visited Adelaide to perform in March 2018, has created a performance vouchsafing heartwarming and profound insight into Palestinian society. Puzzled since childhood by his people’s morning ritual, the azza, when the men of the community gather and exchange allusive and ancient words of condolence and then leave, and prompted by his father’s illness, the writer blends wry humour into a poignant re-enactment of everyday marking of the meaning of life and death. Family and friends commune to remember, to laugh, to sorrow and quarrel and reconcile.

Some thinkers claim that commemoration of the dead is a hallmark of human civilisation which emerged early in ancient times. This celebration of Palestinian funereal rites evokes the humanity and pathos of a long suffering people, whose oppressors have denied their culture, civilization, identity and humanity.

– by Dr David Faber, 20 March 2018



Written & Performed by Amer Hlehel
Adelaide Festival 2018

TAHA is the triumphant but not triumphalist story of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, refracted through the experience and artistry of Haifa based actor and dramatist, Amer Hlehel. The performance we saw deservedly commanded several standing ovations and not a few tears of empathy and joy.

Essentially, it is the story of one dispossessed Palestinian, who had no wish to be invested by politics and history but was forced to experience the 1948 catastrophe and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. As such it is a subtle but profound lesson that if you do not take care of politics, history will take care of you.

Through a litany of losses both personal and collective, Taha is saved by poetry, from Darwish to Byron, both that in which he immersed himself from infancy and his own which emerged from this matrix.

This spare and elegant monologue, produced with simple lighting and only 3 props, saw Hlehel tribute a tender resilience in the face of adversity with poetic intonation and an eloquent and expressive economy of gesture which was as artful as it appeared artless.

In this tale of a successful odyssey through suffering to affirmation, we see encapsulated the creativity, courage, humanity and hope of an oppressed people.

– by Dr David Faber, 20 March 2018

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