Smiling and Creating – Ha’aretz

from Israeli daily newspaper, Ha’aretz – about the Jerusalem Speaking Arts Festival and YTheater, Dec 3, 2012.

. . . .  For example, in the past, in the framework of Speaking Arts, two actors from different parts of Jerusalem – Bonna Devora Haberman, 50, and Khader Hirini, 36 – met each other and began working together. At the conference last week, they cooperated on staging a new show that will be called “Garbage.”

“It will be about people who are treated not as human beings but as garbage. People who aren’t useful for any particular goal,” Haberman explains.

Hirini describes how, at the army checkpoints he has to pass through to visit his family in Ramallah, “They treat me like garbage. Who is standing there? New immigrants, who came to this country a few months or a few years beforehand. Who are they to dare ask me where I am going and where I am coming from?” he asks. “They tell me I don’t look like someone who lives in Jerusalem. What right do they have?”

The “garbage feeling,” Hirini calls it, also derives from the fact that he is not a citizen of Israel, but only has resident status. “We are refugees, not citizens. We don’t have the right to vote. We are just guests here,” he says.

Haberman, a Jewish-feminist scholar and immigrant from North America, has been collaborating for three years with Hirini. She has children serving in the army. “And one of them is even in the Border Police,” she says. “I wish them the best of health,” Hirini says to her, and starts laughing.

“I don’t think we are going to resolve the issues,” Haberman adds, “but this gathering constitutes an incubator for Palestinians and Jews, which enables us to deal with the situation via theatrical work.”

Last summer, the two performed the play “Freeze,” about a group of people who find themselves on an island with no water and eventually discover that the well they were looking for is right under their feet. “They are in an incubator that underlines the problematics, the disputes and the relationships in the group,” says Haberman. . . . [more]


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