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Returning to Haifa

Ismail Khalidi
Format
Paperback
ISBN
9780571347827
Date Published
15.02.2018
Delivery
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Summary

You haven’t asked, but yes, you both may stay in our house for the time being. And use our things. I figure it’ll take a war to settle it all.

A compelling story of two families – one Palestinian, one Israeli – forced by history into an intimacy they didn’t choose.

In 1948, Palestinian couple Said and Safiyya fled their home during the Nakba. Now, in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, the borders are open for the first time in twenty years, and they dare to return to their home in Haifa. They are ready to find someone else living where they once did, but nothing can prepare them for the encounter they both desire and dread with the son they had to leave behind.

Ghassan Kanafani’s classic novella Returning to Haifa has been adapted for the stage by Naomi Wallace and Ismail Khalidi. The play premiered at the Finborough Theatre, London, in February 2018 to coincide with the seventieth anniversaries of both the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ – the mass dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948 – and the foundation of the State of Israel.

‘[Returning to Haifa] offers a moving confrontation between two sets of displaced people and an utterly unsentimental exploration of the complexities of home, history and parenthood… its call for reciprocal awareness and acknowledgement of past injustice seems more necessary than ever.’ Guardian

‘…As quietly shattering as it is gently complex.’ WhatsOnStage

‘The adaptation demonstrates the control power and pain exert over individual lives.’ Upcoming

‘An electrifying eighty minutes of theatre…The beauty of the writing lies in the amalgam of the political and the personal; the connection between individual and global struggles.’ Spy In The Stalls

‘Kanafani’s parable of this contested land is even-handed enough to explore the agony of both the exiled Palestinian couple and the Jewish widow…and to empathize with all of them.’ Jewish Renaissance

Returning to Haifa is a beautiful and important play portraying the personal tragedies created because of much bigger acts between humans.’ Exeunt Magazine

Critic Reviews

Commissioned by New York’s Public Theater, this play never reached the stage because of pressure from the board. They missed a trick because it is a powerful and disturbing piece now receiving its belated premiere... A moving confrontation between two sets of displaced people and an utterly unsentimental exploration of the complexities of home, history and parenthood.

Guardian
Critic Reviews

Bringing this important voice to the stage this anniversary year could not be more timely.

Jewish Renaissance
Critic Reviews

At a moment when borders and barriers are hardening, Returning to Haifa's a reminder that once a curtain comes down, it can't just be re-opened.

WhatsOnStage
Critic Reviews

The adaptation demonstrates the control power and pain exert over individual lives.

Upcoming
Critic Reviews

An electrifying eighty minutes of theatre...The beauty of the writing lies in the amalgam of the political and the personal; the connection between individual and global struggles.

Spy In The Stalls
Critic Reviews

Returning to Haifa is a beautiful and important play portraying the personal tragedies created because of much bigger acts between humans.

Exeunt Magazine
IsmailKhalidi

Ismail Khalidi was born in Beirut and raised in the United States. His plays include Truth Serum Blues and Sabra Falling (Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis), Tennis in Nablus (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and Foot(Teatro Amal, Chile). His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies as well as in The Nation, Guernica, American Theatre, Mizna and Remezcla. Ismail co-edited (with Naomi Wallace) Inside/Outside:…

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IsmailKhalidi