by Fateh Azzam
A small, haunted memory play examining the relation between political and social fear. The TRAVELER is in the airport, where a voice gives the usual security announcements (if your bags are unattended, they will be destroyed) and some that are less conventional (Washington Dulles is at gate 12B, the future is at whatever gate you travel to, and love and liberty, well you have to find those gates before they close). When he is stopped and his bags are searched, he enters a reverie, sparked by the memory of how he got the bag. It was given to him by “the tall people in the white trucks who came to help us”—help them, for they were in the orchards being shot at. The traveler’s memory continues to expand, as he remembers moving from one cement building to another, his punishment for things he didn’t do, and his questions as to whether God will help his plight. He takes a gun from his bag and reminisces about his mother—remembering as a soldier writing home, how hard it is to carry a gun, but how he has no other options: without papers he cannot get a desk job. He seems overcome by an ideal of violence (his cousin loves to fight) but is finally torn. Snap back to the airport, where he cannot board the plane without giving up the bag—representing his memories, culture, childhood. He goes back and forth, but as the lights come down, he is still torn, unable to let go of the past in order to move to a more conventional future.
Fateh Azzam was born in 950 in Lebanon of Palestinian refugee parents. Azzam grew up in Syria and Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1966. Professional theater performer, choreographer, director and teacher from 1971-1987. Full time work has been in human rights and legal activism since then (a human rights curriculum vitae is available upon request). Have maintained some involvement in theater on an ongoing basis. Traveled extensively and lived in Syria, Lebanon, USA, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and in Egypt since 1998. . Fluent spoken and written English and Arabic, French stands at about 60 percent. US citizen. Married to Mary McKone, teacher and ceramic artist. Two children, Rami (20) and Haneen (16). Writing includes: · Baggage; a play in one act, in Dr. Salma Jayyusi, Editor, Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology (Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, 2003)· Ansar: The Play; written in workshop with Nidal Khatib, Ismail Dabbagh and Abed Ju’beh. In Dr. Salma Jayyusi, Editor, Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology (Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, 2003) · "Zoo Story: A New Reading into an Old Play" theater review, in Al-Quds, E. Jerusalem (Oct. 1995) (Arabic). · "Kafka on the West Bank: A Tourist's Guide to Curfews on the West Bank" (with George Giacaman) in Harper's Magazine (February 1995). · "Theater in Occupied Palestine" in al-Fajr English Weekly, E. Jerusalem (3-part series; July 1991).
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