Verbatim Theatre Project, Alrowwad Centre, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine, 27 July 2017

by ray goodlass

We did it! Performed the play today, that is. There were a few aspects that worried my purist streak, but it was meant to be poor theatre, even rough theatre anyway, so my purist streak can go park itself somewhere far away.

Which is a long winded way of saying how pleased I was with the work of our cast, and how the importance of their stories stood out. It all really lived up to its title, which is ‘The Nakba is not just a memory, it is ongoing’. It was powerful, moving, with very good performances, and it all ran very smoothly.

The stories really do bear witness to what the Palestinians have been suffering since 1948.

They are accurate testimony, and are told in as very moving way too – and I really mean very.

Now, what was worrying my purist streak? Ahmed, the theatre teacher and my stage manager, lighting and sound guy, and interpreter (now that’s multitasking) was late for this morning’s rehearsal and almost late for the performance this afternoon, the audience space wasn’t set up until the last minute (by my cast), the promised sur-titles for the parts in English never eventuated, the entrance was never opened so the audience came through ‘backstage’, and there were way too many unaccompanied little kids in the audience.

But just to teach me a lesson about not worrying unnecessarily, the young kids were a great audience and its a tribute to the actors that they held the littlies’ attention so well.

So yes, a very good feeling about this project, and a great incentive to us all to make a great movie during the filming tomorrow./

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