Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette
Published on: April 21, 2017 | Last Updated: April 21, 2017 6:00 AM EDT
They assembled a book together over a two-year period. They share similar hopes and values. Yet this encounter at an N.D.G. coffeehouse marks only the second time Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi have met in the flesh.
But there will be many more get-togethers in the weeks to come. One of the more highly anticipated events at next week’s Blue Metropolis literary festival will be the April 29 discussion, Bridging the Diaspora Divide, wherein Orlov and Sabawi will be expounding on their groundbreaking anthology, Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas. The two playwrights — one Jewish, the other Palestinian — have edited and published what happens to be the first-ever English-language anthology of works by Jewish and Palestinian writers.
This anthology, focusing on the Israeli/Palestine conflict, features three plays written by Jewish playwrights, including Orlov’s Sperm Count, and three by Palestinian playwrights, including Sabawi’s Tales of a City by the Sea, as well as one co-written by a Jew and a Palestinian. The collection also has interviews with the playwrights exploring challenges they faced in writing and staging their work.
The lack of previous encounters doesn’t relate to any anti-social issues. Though their ideals are in sync, their backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. Orlov is a Boston-born Jew living in Montreal, and Sabawi is a Gaza-born Palestinian Muslim living in Melbourne. Through the magic of email and Skype, Orlov and Sabawi managed to deal with the complexities of bringing their project to fruition. Read More …