Israelis, Palestinians Talk Trash in Grassroots Play

Israeli and Palestinian stage performers are getting together to talk trash. Not nearly as vitriolic on the ground as an outsider might think, the discourse between Arabs and Jews has expanded to include environmental matters that affect both sides such as the cleanliness of shared waterways and skies and the growing problem of trash, among others.

A YTheater initiative, Take-Away will unite veteran and novice actors from a variety of backgrounds in a multimedia stage performance that explores what each household and community’s trash reveals about them. But they need help from the crowd. At the time of writing, YTheater has just 38 hours to raise enough funds on Kickstarter to put on three exciting, grassroots performances.

Take-Away is no ordinary play. Unlike a similar, groundbreaking initiative in Lebanon called 10453: A Story About Life in 1 km2 of Trash, this production will take place on a proper stage.

The plot involves a greedy entrepreneur who intends to displace a group of garbage harvesters, a story that will be delivered with a combination of video art, music and shadow play, as well as a host of recycled props fashioned from local trash.

Jersulam-based YTheater’s Kickstarter brief is philosophical, reflecting the thoughtful origins of what promises to be an enlightening performance.

“Refugees from large and small wars eat, sleep, shower, forage & garden together on a sacred hill that has become a garbage dump,” they write.

“At the cross-roads of survival and sanctity, the characters navigate satire and self-reflection, destruction and remorse. Even as the intruder offers the possibility of redemption from banal daily life, she sows seeds of enmity that jeopardize home, love and community.”

But why trash? It is telling that a rising number of artists, designers and journalists are choosing something so seemingly peripheral to daily life as rubbish. But it turns out that examining our waste practices can be an educational and even transformative experience.

“For the past year, YTheater has been unearthing how we trash material and one another,” the Kickstarter brief reads.

“Our trash reveals what we eat, where we work, how we play, what we own, our family life and health, what we care about – how we treat our friends, our neighborhood, our enemies, and the world. From what and how we discard, we learn about our lives, choices and priorities. We probe how and why we relate to things and even people as a means to fulfilling our ends.”

YTheater was founded by Bonna Devora Haberman, who holds a doctorate in ethics and education and trained in theater with Augusto Boal, creator of Theater of the Oppressed, as well as Kadar Herini, who trained in acting and direction at the Al-Jamilla College for Arts in Ramalla and founded “The Comic Theater” in Al-Azaria. 

For more information or to support this worthy project, please check out YTheater’s Kickstarter campaign



                                Tafline Laylin
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Tafline writes about environmental issues. Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East.