“Semites” at Bristol’s Loco Klub
[in the vaults under Bristol Temple Meads Station]
6 – 10 November 2018
Bristol’s Muslim-Jewish charity, Salaam Shalom, and local actor Ben Nathan, are set to bring a new theatre production to the City (6-10 Nov), hot on the heels of its London premier (30 Oct-3 Nov).
“Semites” is the culmination of three years’ research and interviews on location in Israel and Palestine by creator and Executive Producer, Ben. Interviewees included students, farmers, yoga practitioners, lawyers, engineers, journalists, peace activists, settlers, combatants.
Ben heard stories from those who are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, secular, orthodox, settler, ideological, military and political, on both sides of the Israel/Palestine Green Line. Using family and friends in the region, and his familiarity with life on the ground, he gained the commitment and trust of these individuals, groups and organisations. Now those stories will be told in a ‘verbatim’ theatre production with Ben acting alongside Lara Sawalha.
The name was conceived because Palestinians and Israelis have one indisputable thing in common: they are all Semites. “Semites”, directed by London-based Daniel Goldman, “explores the challenges of living an ordinary life under extraordinary circumstances, of having dialogue with ‘the other’, of loss and hope, of staying alive. In a world of echo chambers, fake news and fear.” According to Producer, Arsalan Sattari: “Audiences are invited to leave their preconceptions at the door, and open their eyes, ears and heart”.
As well as the production itself, Salaam Shalom plans to work with members of the production team to deliver workshops, based around the topic of dialogue, to community organisations and schools in London and the South West.
For Ben Nathan: “Using the interviewees’ words, verbatim, I want to encourage insightful discourse on this complex subject. This rarely happens because of our often linear and simplistic view of the conflict. By presenting genuine, human experiences from those living this story, I want to challenge polarised perspectives and encourage audiences to reflect and re-examine what they thought they knew.”
Martin Vegoda, Chair of Salaam Shalom: “We’ve been delighted to support Ben’s concept of workshops around a verbatim theatre performance. Using Israeli and Palestinian voices telling their own story fits us perfectly. Over the past 12 years Salaam Shalom has offered arts and media activities which enable people from different cultural backgrounds to learn more about each other and challenge their not always valid perceptions.”
“Semites” website is www.semites.one To book at the Loco Klub, go to www.locobristol.com