36 Abbas Street, Haifa
Written & Performed by Raeda Taha
Directed by Junaid Sarieddeen
The play starts at the 28th of September at Al-Madina Theatre, Hamra and runs till the 16th of October, each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On May 15, 2010, the Abu Ghaida and Rafi families are set to meet for the first time – they will meet in a celebration of the homecoming of Fuad Abu Ghaida, one of the …. children of Ahmad Abu Ghaida, the (original) owner of the building that stands at 36 Abbas Street in Haifa.
The Return: 36 Abbas Street, Haifa, is the story of the Rafi family, Palestinians who stayed in Palestine and became hostages to fate, becoming citizens of the Jewish state of Israel.
It is also the story of the Abu Ghaida family, Palestinians who were forced to leave and left to wonder all corners of the world in search of a country they could call their own.
But for both families 36 Abbas Street is home.
It is their city, their street, their house, and their memories.
They have memories of sites, sounds and smells in the same balcony, overlooking the same sea, two families, both Palestinian, both patriotic, both torn asunder by the fate that the destruction of Palestine brought upon them,
as individuals, as families, as a community, and as a people.
It is also a story of defiance and endurance, of perseverance and patience, of faith and loyalty, of people who make things happen in spite of the odds stacked against them.
In the closing of a circle of a saga that began on the 15th of May in 1948 when Haifa fell to the Zionist forces, one Palestinian, Fuad Abu Ghaida, 73, now a resident of London, will return to his family home in Haifa.
Ali Rafi and the other contemporary residence of 36 Abbas Street will welcome him and in a symbolic gesture will give him the keys to the home he has been denied for the past 62 years.
In the span of 48 hours, the fate of the Palestinians of Haifa will be challenged by the return of a missing son, by the return to 36 Abbas Street of Fuad Abu Ghaida.
ABOUT THE ACTRESS/PRODUCER
Raeda Taha holds a BA in Speech Communication and Journalism from George Mason University in Virginia.
Between 1987 and 1994, she was the Press Secretary of Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Currently, she is the Chairperson of the Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah, Palestine and a member of Administrative Committee of the Ghassan Kanafani Cultural Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.
Raeda has published several short stories in the “Anthology of Palestinian Women Writers” and has recently authored a book ,“Ali”, chronicling the life of her father a pioneering Palestinian freedom fighter.
She has acted and played lead-roles in three plays: “Petra Rocks”, “Return to Haifa”, and “80 Steps”. In 2105, she wrote, produced, and performed a one-woman show “Where can I find someone like you Ali?” directed by Lina Abyad.
She has been chosen to take part in The Sundance Institute Theatre Program (MENA) in Morroco in May 2016.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Junaid Sarieddine holds a BA in Theater from the Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts. He has also acquired a BA in Philosophy at the Lebanese University and is now pursuing Master studies at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut.
Junaid Sarieddine is an actor, dramaturg, and director. He is also a trainer, facilitator, trainer of trainees, researcher, and social organizer.
He has directed major plays devised by Zoukak such as "Lucena: Obedience Training" (2013), based on Henrik Ibsen writings and took part in more than 15 performances in the past ten years.
Junaid leads psychosocial interventions in different regions across Lebanon targeting various communities and age groups; including drama-therapy workshops in different mediation techniques, in addition to facilitation and creation of collective performances.
Junaid trains teachers, educators and activities’ leaders on the use of theatre in different educational, social, and psychosocial contexts.
He is a cofounding member of Zoukak. The experience of managing Zoukak has given him a strong experience in the management of non-governmental and cultural associations in Lebanon. He is now undergoing a research on cultural policy in Lebanon.