A Dream of the Sea: Bread and Puppet Theater and Ashtar Theatre Stage a Parade on the Ramallah Side of the Israeli Wall
Schlesinger, Lisa, American Theatre
FIRST ITEM OF BUSINESS: WHO WILL BE ON the Jerusalem side of the wall, and who will be on the Ramallah side?
Iman Aoun, artistic director of Palestine's Ashtar Theatre, and I are collaborating on a performance that we know from the outset will be difficult, if not impossible. It is slated in October 2009 as part of El-Hakawati Company of East Jerusalem's first international street-theatre festival, called the Jerusalem Every Which Way Festival. (In Arabic and French, the festival is also known as Al Quds Al Saba Tatajalla and ferusalem dans tous ses etats!) The hosting organization, founded in 1977 (by a group of theatre artists, including current member Francois Abu Salem and Edward Muallem, Aoun's partner and Ashtar's managing director), is the home of the Palestinian National Theatre. Aoun and I are imagining a well-known play adapted and performed on both sides of the nine-meter-high wall between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The two cities, about seven miles apart, are separated by the Qalandia checkpoint as well as a stretch of Israel's 220-mile-long concrete, razor-wire and electric security fence. We envision some characters in our performance on the Jerusalem side and others on the Ramallah side. We will transcend the wall however we can, we decide, maybe with live-feed video.
We discuss the possibility of inviting Peter Schumann and his Vermont-based Bread and Puppet Theater to be part of the performance. If they agree to participate, there maybe other ways to make it visible to all. I remember photos of the bearded Schumann and his enormous puppets on towering stilts. Ashtar Theatre has hosted the well-traveled troupe once, and my collaborator Aoun wants to bring them back to work with students of the International Academy of Art Palestine. …
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Publication information: Article title: A Dream of the Sea: Bread and Puppet Theater and Ashtar Theatre Stage a Parade on the Ramallah Side of the Israeli Wall. Contributors: Schlesinger, Lisa - Author. Magazine title: American Theatre. Volume: 27. Issue: 7 Publication date: September 2010. Page number: 52+. © 1999 Theatre Communications Group. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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