"Wrestling Jerusalem" by Aaron Davidman, at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco in 2014.

Mosaic Theater Company Announces Line-up for 2016 Voices Festival

Israeli, Arab, and American artists unite to collaborate in this five-play festival.

 WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Mosaic Theater Company of D.C. has announced the lineup for the 2016 Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival. The festival, themed “The War Comes Home,” will run Jan. 6–May 1.

“The Voices Festival serves as a necessary bridge to Israel, importing and sharing a range of viewpoints: historical, emotional, sequential, and not parochially—that challenge our previously held beliefs and awaken our empathy,” wrote the Association for Jewish Theatre in a letter to the board of the D.C. Jewish Community Center one year ago. “Clearly the consistent and robust audience turnout is a valuable indicator among others, showing the need in the community that this festival provides.”

The festival will launch with Aaron Davidman’s Wrestling Jerusalem (Jan. 6—24), in which Davidman performs 17 different Palestinian, Israeli, British, and American characters in a journey to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Michael John Garcés will direct.

Next will be Israeli artist Shay Pitovsky’s I Shall Not Hate (Jan. 23—Feb. 14), an adaptation of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s memoir about a celebrated champion for peace in the Middle East who lost three of his daughters to Israeli tank fire in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian-Israeli actor Gassan Abbas will star, and the play will be performed in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Following will be Mosaic Theater Company’s production of  Eretz Chadasha (The Promised Land) (Feb. 16—28), by Pitovsky and Sachar Pinkas, about young Sudanese refugees crossing the desert to enter Israeli legally and illegally. Michael Bloom will direct.

Next is Motti Lerner’s After the War (March 24—April 17), inspired by controversial expatriate Daniel Barenboim, about a concert pianist who returns to Tel Aviv to perform with the Israeli Philharmonic and struggles to reconnect with his estranged family after the 2006 war in Lebanon. Sinai Peter will direct.

The festival concludes with Leila Buck’s Hkeelee (Talk to Me) (April 30 and May 1), a one-woman show about a woman’s memory of her grandmother and her own American-Lebanese identity. Noelle Ghoussaini will direct.

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