5th International Monodrama Festival THESPIS
10 to 17 November 2006 Kiel GERMANY

Sunday, November 12 | 20:00 | Pumpe

written for stage and performed by Mohammad Bakri (Israel)

adapted from Emile Habibi's ”Al Mutasha'el”

Bakri's play d ramatizes the story of Saeed, the hapless pessoptimist. He symbolizes the fate of the Palestinian people who lost their land but nevertheless cling to their identity. Saeed was just a normal everyday Palestinian… until God and the United Nations gave his country to the Israelis. As his family is trying to get to Lebanon they are hit by Israeli gunfire. Saeed escapes death when a donkey strays into the line of fire, but his father dies. A few months later Saeed returns home and begins his new life as a Palestinian-Israeli. Yet no matter how hard he tries to become a good Israeli citizen, he is never allowed to forget that he is a Palestinian. In his attempt to cope with his loyalty to his son and wife on the one hand, and to the new state on the other, he stumbles from one catastrophe to the other until finally he seeks refuge with creatures from outer space. From his home on high he beams his story back to earth.

”The Pessoptimist” achieves the impossible: a comic play on the crisis in Palestine that addresses the issues of displacement and occupation yet remains hilarious throughout. (Note: What is the difference between a pessimist and an optimist living in Israel…? The pessimist says things can't get any worse while the optimist says they can.)

The novelist Emile Habibi, Haifa's best-known Palestinian and a cunning, sad, brilliant writer received the Israeli prize for his literary work in 1992.

Mohammad Bakri is a director, producer, screenwriter and internationally known theatre and film actor - e.g.: in ”Private” (Italy/2004) - best film at Locarno festival in 2004; ”Desperado Square” (Israel /2001); ”Rami og Julie” (Denmark/1988). He produced documentaries about history of Israel and Palestine which provoked heated debates (”1948”, 1998,”Jenin… Jenin”, 2002, and ”Since You've Been Gone”, 2005).

Language: Arabic, with overhead German translation
Length: 90 minutes, with intermission

In cooperation with peace of art, Kiel. Special thanks to Souad Bensalah-Mekkes, Berlin

This performance is not part of the competition