Arabic monodrama festival gears up

Theater connoisseurs looking to get their stage fix will not have to wait for the weekend.

July 1, 2013 21:13
2 minute read.

'Choices'. (photo credit: Hiba Nahamni)

Theater connoisseurs looking to get their stage fix will not have to wait for the weekend.

The 12th annual Arabic Theater Festival, “Masrahid,” which is sponsored by the Acre Theater Center, will take place on July 2-4 in Old Acre. The event will include seven performances in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles.

The goal of the festival has always been to expose original Arabic work to an audience of non-Arabic speakers. However, this year’s festival is especially unique because it will feature cross-cultural collaborations.

“In the past, this event has served as a meeting point for many different artists,” stated artistic directors Osama Masri and Chaled Abu-Ali in a recent press release.

“This year we will see the fruit of these meetings – the productions of ‘Masrahid 2013’ are the mutual work of Jewish and Arab participants.”

The festival is known as a hotbed for new and experienced performers alike. Ultimately the directors hope to spark a dialogue between Arabs and Jews.

Many of the plays confront taboo social topics in Arab culture such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. Others confront political controversies such as the 2012 amendment to the Citizenship Law, allowing the State of Israel to deny citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israelis.

Traditionally only featuring monodramas, the event will also premier “Masrahid Plus,” a new section open to dual-actor plays. This year marks the return of Bashar Murkus – the critics’ favorite of the Acre French Festival in 2011. He will direct the only dualactor play, New Middle East.

Other interesting plays include Choices, the story of a young Arab girl struggling to become an actress, Compliment, a monologue where a wife-beating husband tells his story in group therapy, and Section 7, a monodrama about an Israel-Palestinian couple who have to break the law to live together.

Tuesday’s exciting opening ceremony will feature modern Arabic music by DJ Muhammad Jabali and a performance from the winner of Israel’s The Voice, Lina Makhul.

In standard fashion, the festival will also include street events for the public of Old Acre – screenings of various documentaries, video art, and a tribute exhibition to honor local Acre artist Jaber Abu Chamad. On Thursday there will be a student monologue competition.

After the festival, the seven plays will be performed in 60 towns all over Israel, as part of “The Traveling Masrahid” project, founded three year’s ago by Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnot.

For tickets and more information visit

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