FROM THE RIVER
TO THE SEA
Check it out here:
playwright, director, performer, set design/construction
Research conducted in Hebron, the West Bank
Play performed in Red Hook, NY
From the River to the Sea is the story of two mother and daughter pairs coming from Jewish and Palestinian backgrounds living in Hebron, the West Bank in 1976. The story follows each family as they try to reclaim land related to the old Jewish Cemetery; the Jewish family, Sarah (mother) and Rivkah (daughter), seeks to bury their deceased son/brother while the Palestinian family, Sarai (mother) and Maryam (daughter), seeks to reclaim their original home. Each family invokes their history and religion into their actions against their neighboring communities. Religious figures and ancestors are involved in the story as the two families take increasingly violent action against one another. As the families war against one another, their respective ancestors become a third side to the conflict. The families begin to realize that they must combine forces in order to protect themselves against the history they’ve called to life.
The ‘truth’ when it comes to the conflict in Israel and Palestine depends deeply on the perspective from which one comes.
Almost every aspect of the story of Israel’s nationhood shifts depending on who is telling the tale; what group is called the enemy or the protagonist and even the order of events subject to change.
So, in all the messiness of this conflict, how does one understand this fundamental question; How does a group, that is defined by diaspora, scapegoating and violent treatment, conceptualize of their own role in transforming Palestinian’s into a diaspora people, without a land or home to call their own? How does one diaspora justify creating another?
[YOUNG SARAH runs in, sits down in front of RIVKAH]
Gramma gramma, braid my hair!
Gramma! Braid my hair and tell me a story, please!
Ok, hold on--
[GRAND-DAUGHTER throws herself down at her grandmothers’ feet, begins to cry]
Ok, ok. It’s been a long time, let’s see what I remember.
GRANDMOTHER. A moment of silence as
GRAND-DAUGHTER brushes GRAND-DAUGHTER ’S hair. Quiet, religious-like
Wait, we’re actually going to--
Bury him? Of course. Just as there is Jewish way to live, there is a Jewish—
[SARAH gestures to RIVKAH to finish the sentence.]
Way to die. But, in the graveyard? How?
[SARAH throws one of the shovels at RIVKAH. SARAH begins to mark out the grave]
Yes, in our graveyard, of course.
[RIVKAH holding shovel but not digging.]
We’re crossing into the Arab part?
There is no Arab part.
[RIVKAH stands in front of SARAH, blocking her digging.]
Ok, but the Arabs, they live here. What if they--
[SARAH pushes RIVKAH out of the way.]
Get angry? They are always angry about something. Always blowing themselves up for some reason, God knows. Are you planning to help me?