We are Palestinians and Israelis.
Our lives and world-views usually exclude one another.
We agree about almost nothing.
We are positioned in opposition.
Our souls are on the line.
We burn with the passion of the Middle East.
We grope for new pathways - to break through impasses, to un-lock the grid of violence, and to mend what is broken.
Creating theater is our shared language; the stage is our meeting point.
We are Muslims, Jews, and Christians who collaborate. We struggle, we do not whitewash. We face difference and difficulty with caring and respect. Awe for life feeds our commitment to persevere, to create, to pry open our own hearts and the hearts of our audiences. Our community theater project, YTheater explores, interprets, re-interprets, and innovates.
We delve deeply into our behavior, traditions, and societies.
We critique, provoke, and even, humbly, propose.
In a region raw with conflict and pain, we rehearse for better life together.
At the core of the Middle-East conflict, our spunky new comic-tragedy, Take-Away, deals in seductions of greed, ambition, fear, and betrayal.
A profit-seeking entrepreneur-wolf plans to oust a neighborhood of garbage harvesters from their homes. Refugees from large and small wars eat, sleep, shower, forage & garden together on a sacred hill that has become a garbage dump. 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.
For the past year, YTheater has been unearthing how we trash material and one another. 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. When the usefulness of material and person expires, they become useless. Wediscard people and things with little concern for the consequences to our social and material world.
Take-Away prompts awareness about our daily life practices and how we affect one another. Unpacking & sorting the raw material of our garbage behavior, we reveal inter-connections and vulnerabilities, and find a deep ecology of our conflict. We aspire to bring ourselves and our audiences to better terms with our shared human condition - as more responsible actors.
Our community theater project is a process. We bring together Palestinians and Israelis, seasoned performers and novices. We interpret our lives and explore shared concerns. In theatrical play, we enter each other's perspectives, probe our difficulties, and experiment with creative possibilities.
YTheater uses contact improvisation-based choreography, shadows, video art, music & sound to create a powerful multi-media theater language. Blending Arabic and Hebrew, and accessible to English-speakers, Take-Away conveys the challenges of partial understanding and mis-communication while inspiring beyond words.
YTheater models collaboration and builds healthy connections - in rehearsal, on stage, in our audiences, and among communities. We work toward vibrant interdependence and empower people with the dispositions of hope and peace.
We invite you to buy a share in creating an alternative to the reality that usually takes center stage. Enable us to take Take-Away to audiences in East and West Jerusalem, the Galilee and the southern desert - to Palestinian Muslim, Jewish, and Christian high-schools and community venues, festivals, and arts centers.
Please share this Kickstarter project with your friends and invite them to support Take-Away.
Most of our materials are from local trash and re-cycling. We do need funds to cover production costs - for a (used) laptop computer and an electronic video projector, for our music, sound, and video, set and costumes, stage rental, outreach, and transportation.
Our initial target of $7,500 will help us workshop, book, and mount 3 Take-Away performances; we expect to reach well over 500 people.
This is only the beginning.
With your help, we'd like to take our collaboration and creativity to as many communities as possible.
For every $2,500 above our initial goal, we will be able to perform Take-Away for another audience and reach hundreds more people.
With more funding, we will take Take-Away to North America and Europe, to a venue near you.
With even more funding, we will train young Muslims, Jews, and Christians to lead community theater projects, to create together, and to build a stronger, more peaceful, caring, and committed civil society in Israel and Palestine.
We shall be totally thrilled by your support - thank you for partnering with us to reach out, transform, and inspire.
Images from Take-Away
Risks and challenges
Death alone will separate us from fulfilling this project - our commitments to one another, to our tremendous potential audiences, to our backers, and to our societies.
Meanwhile, our most urgent challenge is to publicize Take-Away and draw diverse communities into the process. Particularly among Palestinians, we need to overcome initial reticence about collaboration. We particularly seek to reach Muslim women, and to achieve full gender balance in our audiences.
We intend to initiate generations of community theater leaders who will continue with this work.
- (48 days)