A unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people struggling to find hope and love in areas affected by war and violence, Tales of a City by the Sea will be presented at La Mama Courthouse from 11 May 2016, before touring to Adelaide and Sydney.
Jomana is a Palestinian woman living in a Gaza refugee camp, who falls in love with Rami, an American-born Palestinian doctor, just arrived on one of the first ‘Free Gaza’ boats.
Their love is met with many challenges including Israel’s assault on Gaza during the winter of 2008 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.
On the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora communities and their loved ones back home in war torn regions and under occupation, but beneath the surface a broader and more universal theme emerges – one of human survival and tenacity.
Tales of a City by the Sea avoids politics, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story in all its dimensions. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of stories the author Samah Sabawi, her family and friends in Gaza have experienced during the events of the past several years, and wrote most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.
Writer Samah Sabawi says “As a daughter of Palestinian immigrants who studied English as a second language in high school, I am thrilled to have the play included on the VCE playlist and to see it performed by a diverse cast of actors, because to me, this is what it’s all about: This is a success story that beautifully displays the power of inclusivity and the strength of our cultural diversity.
Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian Australian Canadian playwright, commentator and poet. Her plays Cries From The Land and Three Wishes had successful runs in Canada; Tales Of A City By The Sea enjoyed a sold-out season at La Mama in 2014 and an Arabic premiere at Alrowwad’s Cultural Theater Society in Palestine, and was selected for the 2016 VCE Drama Playlist.
Her poems feature in With Our Eyes Wide Open (West End Press 2014), Gaza Unsilenced (Just World Books 2015) and I Remember My Name (Novum Publishing 2016). Samah is co-editor of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas (Playwrights Canada Press 2016).
Director: Lech Mackiewicz (Original), Wahibe Moussa (Remount) Performers: Helana Sawires, Osamah Sami, Emina Ashman, Reece Vella, Alex Pinder, Rebecca Morton, Cara Whitehouse, Aseel Tayah, Ubaldino Mantelli Set Design: Lara Week Lighting Design: Shane Grant Sound Design: Khaled Sabsabi Sound Mixer: Max Schollar-Root Production / Stage Manager: Hayley Fox Assistant Stage Manager: James Crafti Producers: Samah Sabawi, Daniel Clarke and Lara Week
Tales of a City by the Sea
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Season: 11 – 29 May 2016
Information and bookings: www.lamama.com.au
The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 8 – 18 June 2016
Information and bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula (Sydney)
Performance: 3 August 2016 – 11.00am / 7.00pm
Information and bookings: www.casulapowerhouse.com
For more information, visit: www.talesofacitybythesea.com for details.
Image: Tales of a City by the Sea (supplied)