live from alestine: tories Under ccupation
Al-Kasaba eatre and Cinematheque Nizar Zoubi, Director Performed in Arabic with English Surtitles
Reading Between the Lines Suppose the only life you know is a war-torn struggle for freedom and human rights? What if every day you face food shortages, curfews, and exploding bombs? Imagine that you can’t get to work, or school, or that you have to stay indoors for weeks without seeing your friends. Now picture that your deeply personal stories are reduced to cold words in a newspaper. Could theater be a way to tell your story? Al-Kasaba’s eater Company’s production of Alive from Palestine sets out to do just that—to tell the untold, personal stories of life in Palestine and to reclaim the humanity of the Palestinian people. In a series of tragic and comic short scenes, a small troupe of actors present a glimpse of lives impacted by curfews, checkpoints, fear, and intimidation. e actors portray refugees determined to tell their stories: a father who discovers his dead son’s schoolbag, a young couple who exchange unusual tokens of love, a man who plans his funeral because it is the only thing he can control in his life, and an
actor who portrays a “suitcase” that longs to be owned by a fancy socialite passing eﬀortlessly through posh airports. By mixing absurdity with desperation, the actors reveal people struggling each day to hold onto their dignity and survive.
After the Performance…
• Talk about the signiﬁcance of the title, Alive from Palestine. Why do you think Al-Kasaba chose the word “alive” instead of “live?”
• Discuss how the director’s choice of music, lighting, sound, set design, and stage movement helped create a world that is a mix of fantasy and reality. Discuss why you think this mix is important for telling the story.
Resources Tolan, Sandy. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006.
www.kennedy-center.org/arabesque Al-Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque www.alkasaba.org ARTSEDGE www.artsedge.kennedycenter.org/arabfestival
A People Divided
For 28 years, Ramallah-based Al-Kasaba eatre and Cinematheque has been one of the few independent theaters where artists, actors, and ﬁlmmakers can produce and present their work. Despite the war-time risks of simply working in and going to the theater, Al-Kasaba continues to use the arts to give a voice to the Palestinian people.
Palestine has played a far bigger role in history than its small size would suggest. Located at the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, it is part of an area often referred to as e Holy Land—the seat of three great religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Over time, with centuries of migrations, invasions, and a plurality of beliefs, the stage has been set for conﬂict over territory and ideology. When Israel was formed in 1948, the majority of the Palestinian population was displaced. While some were able to remain in their homes, others were relocated to the West Bank and Gaza. Many ﬂed, becoming refugees in other countries. What will ultimately happen to this small parcel of land—and the people who call it home—lies at the heart of this heated conﬂict.
“We are human beings whose lives have been reduced to small news items.” — George Ibrahim, General Director Al-Kasaba eatre and Cinematheque
The Road to Peace Research the current conﬂict occurring in Gaza. What are your thoughts about the prospect for lasting peace in the area?
Suppose the only life you know is a war-torn struggle for freedom and human rights? What if every day you face food shortages, curfews, and...