This unusual play tells the story of Naji Bakker (Jamal Sa’id), a Jerusalemite who has recently been evicted from his house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Following his eviction, Naji discovers that he has an American sister, so, with the help of his friend Ramzi (Atta Nasser), he does an internet search and invites her to visit Jerusalem. When his sister (Nika Clelland) finally arrives, she finds that Naji has been living in the street outside his home in protest of the eviction, along with a few supporters, including his neighbor Fatima (Nisbat Sarhan), a guitarist from Jerusalem (Evan Azazian), and a young American actor (Arthur Lazalde). Naji’s sister tries to help him, but the plot thickens when another woman (Mik Kuhlman) appears on the scene and claims to be Naji’s real sister. A blood feud ensues in this delightful comedy about sisters, solidarity, and the true meaning of siblinghood.
It's not often you find Jerusalem and love in the same phrase these days. The play is a slice of real life, without the spin of realpolitik, and feels authentic. It even features an Armenian, an underrepresented minority in Old Jerusalem. Performances are at 19:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21 at Al Qasaba Theatre in Ramallah.
The premise is very timely in that those contested settler apartments in Ramat Shlomo, which kicked off the latest backbiting between Bibi and Hillary, will be built next door to Sheikh Jarrah. This play was produced by the Palestinian National Theater / Hakwati, and is sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Office of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. If it's propaganda, it's mildly comic and down home. You be the judge.