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Festival Theater
501 Blachly Rd, Marshfield, VT, 05658

Returning to Haifa

Ghassan Kanafani,

Commissioned by New York’s Public Theater, this play never reached the stage because of pressure from the board. They missed a trick because it is a powerful and disturbing piece now receiving its belated premiere. Adapted by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace from a novella by the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani (1936-72), it works on several levels: as a poignant family drama, as a plea for Israeli-Palestinian understanding and as a warning of what will follow without some form of reconciliation.

The play shows a Palestinian couple returning to Haifa in 1967 in search of the house and son they

Marlene Sidaway as Miriam in Returning to Haifa were forced to abandon 20 years previously during mass evictions by Israeli forces. They constantly debate whether they are right to make the journey. When they arrive, they find their old home occupied by the widowed Miriam who fled from Poland after her father was sent to Auschwitz and who adopted the couple’s son and brought him up as a naturalised Israeli.

This could easily be a propaganda piece. Instead, it offers a moving confrontation between two sets of displaced people and an utterly unsentimental exploration of the complexities of home, history and parenthood. Said, the aggrieved Palestinian father, is a truculent figure whose aggression is matched, possibly to excess, by that of the son he lost. Surveying the Haifa house he once owned, Said also says, more in prophetic sorrow than in anger, that it will take a war to settle ancient wrongs.



Ticket Type Price Spaces
Adult Ticket $30.00
Children 12 and under Ticket $15.00

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