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"Shintian" Play Performance

Saturday 15 March 2003

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On Saturday, March 15, we had a moving experience with
"Shintian", a play which relates the memories of an 80-year old woman from
the village of Kufr Yasif in the Galilee. The story weaves personal
memories with the painful story of her village and her people.

After the play, we conducted a discussion with the play’s
actress, Hawla Haj-Dibsi, who is a member of NSWAS. In the discussion
we expressed our impressions of the play’s various elements, including the
stage design, lighting, music, acting and the script.

Everyone who spoke agreed that all of these elements
contributed to the strong effect of the play. In the scene showing the
burning of the village houses, for instance, it was possible to see and
smell the flames. Extracts from poetry and live music brought by Salam
Darwish added depth and beauty to the plaintive atmosphere. Those of
us who did not understand most of the Arabic were able to follow along with
the help of flashlights distributed together with a translated copy of the
entire script before the performance.

Palestinian members of the audience were impressed by the
use of language and the accurate representation of dialect.

After the play we learned from Hawla and others who hailed
from the vicinity of Kufr Yasif that the characters appearing in the play
are real persons known to them.

Palestinian members of the audience spoke of the way this
special and strong woman awakened collective memory from the generation of
their parents or grandparents.

Jewish members of the audience expressed their appreciation
at being able to cross the gap of language and culture and experience the
story in such a direct and authentic way in the original language.

We hope also in the future to conduct activities of this
kind which permit a deep personal encounter with the stories of our two

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