Full Details of Upcoming Double Exposure Events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide May 26 – June 8

Full Details of Upcoming Double Exposure Events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide May 26 – June 8

Sydney

May 26 –  Sydney Writers Festival
When:  1:30pm – 3:30pm
Where:   Sydney Dance 1, Pier 4/5, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay
Bookings:   FREE event, no bookings required.
https://www.swf.org.au/festivals/festival-2017/human-baggage-the-hate-politics-of-immigration

May 29 – Whitlam Institute
When:  6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where:  Female Orphan School, Conference Room 1, Building EZ, Western Sydney University, Cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road Rydalmere, NSW 2116
Bookings:  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/a-jew-and-a-palestinian-cross-the-cultural-divide-tickets-34309631030?aff=aff0eventful

Melbourne

June 4 – The Australian Jewish Democratic Society and the Side Door
When: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: The Side Door, St. John’s Uniting Church, 567 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick
Bookings: Free event, no bookings required. Gold coin donation accepted at door.

June 5 – Readings
When: 6:30pm
Where:  Readings St Kilda, 112 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
Booking:   Free event, bookings suggested via https://www.readings.com.au/event/double-exposure

Adelaide

June 8 – Australian Friends of Palestine Association
When:  5:30pm – 7:00pm
Where:  The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA, 5000
Bookings:  Free event, registration is essential via http://www.afopa.com.au/afopa-events/2017/5/16/double-exposure-plays-of-the-jewish-and-palestinian-diaspora

ANNOUNCING A NEW PLAY ANTHOLOGY – Double Exposure – Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers.

May 2017
MEDIA RELEASE

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A Jew and a Palestinian cross the cultural divide in groundbreaking anthology
Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas
Edited by Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi
Speaking in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide
26 May to 8 June

A Boston-born Jew in Montreal and a Gaza-born Palestinian in Melbourne have just published the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers.

The winner of Canada’s prestigious biennial 2017 Patrick O’Neill Award, Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas is edited by award-winning playwrights Stephen Orlov of Montreal and Samah Sabawi of Melbourne, one of each of their acclaimed plays also featuring in the anthology.

Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas is available via Amazon, Booktopia and at selected bookstores Australia wide. To purchase a copy follow this link.

Following panels and readings to sell-out audiences at writers festivals and events in New York City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, Orlov and Sabawi have arrived in Australia to discuss the plays and their unique collaboration editing this captivating anthology about the most inflammatory ongoing regional conflict of the past seventy years.

Orlov and Sabawi will discuss the complexities, obstacles and revelations in editing this groundbreaking collection of plays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Sydney Writer’s Festival and special events in Melbourne and Adelaide from 26 May to 8 June.

The book delivers compelling stories with authentic characters that challenge one of the remaining thematic taboos for most major theatres in the Western world, fueled for decades by prejudice, ignorance and timidity for decades.

This provocative collection of drama stylistically turns the political into the personal. The seven plays vary in genre between drama and comedy, in aesthetic between realism and surrealism, in setting between the Diasporas and Israel/Palestine, and in the political opinions of their characters. Collectively they offer distinct diaspora perspectives on this seemingly endless conflict.

“The Diaspora journey from page to stage is marked by the cultural footprints of our ancestors and the emotional, material and familial ties of so many to the conflict. This is an issue for all of humanity, not merely for Jews and Palestinians,” says Orlov and Sabawi in the anthology’s preface. Read the full preface here.

This unique anthology about the Israel-Palestine conflict includes three plays written by Jewish playwrights, three by Palestinian playwrights, and one by both, along with interviews with the playwrights exploring the inspirations and challenges they experienced both in writing and staging their work.

The plays are penned by highly acclaimed dramatists now residing in the diaspora of five continents: Bitterenders by Hannah Khalil in Ireland; Facts by Arthur Milner in Gatineau, Québec; The Peace Maker by Natasha Greenblatt in Toronto; Sabra Falling by Ismail Khalidi in Chile; Sperm Count by Stephen Orlov in Montreal; Tales of a City by the Sea by Samah Sabawi in Australia; and Twenty-One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East by Abdelfattah AbuSrour in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, West Bank, Lisa Schlesinger in America, and Naomi Wallace in England; with introductions and interviews by award-winning American playwrights, Karen Hartman and Betty Shamieh.

Sabawi’s inspiration for Tales of a City by the Sea and later for the anthology was influenced by her own experiences and stories of family and loved ones under Israeli siege in Gaza.

She elaborates, “We’ve been through very tough times. The worst for me was during the 51 days in 2014 when Gaza was being bombarded and I feared for my family’s safety. But you always need to pick yourself up and stay the course. I believe this anthology has a vital role to play in challenging western convictions about the conflict and in breaking the taboos that we’ve normalized for so long in mainstream theatres.”

The play’s simultaneous world premieres in Melbourne and the West Bank, along with an Australian tour, played to sold-out houses, but its Gaza premiere had to be cancelled because of destruction and casualties from Israeli bombing raids.

Orlov’s play Sperm Count had its world premiere in London during a politically-charged time shortly after 9-11 and the launching of the War in Afghanistan. The theatre received several anonymous bomb threats, which the cast and crew bravely defied, fortunately without incident.

He is now writing his commissioned play, Birthmark, the third in his dual-diaspora trilogy, and explains his role as a progressive Jewish dramatist: “Plays that promote peace and social justice must be delivered by characters portraying a range of human frailty and strength along the moral spectrum, characters in conflict true to their times, their place and their culture. My greatest challenge as a Jewish playwright tackling plays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is creating with anecdotal accuracy, authentic Palestinian characters free of stereotypical depiction. I suspect the same is true for most Palestinian playwrights creating Jewish characters. Cultural appropriation must be avoided, but if Jewish writers don’t dare to cross the cultural divide with diligence and mutual respect, we will fall short of our visionary goal.”

Australian audiences can catch Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi speaking at the following festivals at events.

Sydney

Sydney Writers Festival
When:
1:30pm – 3:30pm 26 May
Where:
Sydney Dance 1, Pier 4/5, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay
Bookings:
FREE event, no bookings required.
https://www.swf.org.au/festivals/festival-2017/human-baggage-the-hate-politics-of-immigration

Whitlam Institute
When:
6:30pm – 8:00pm 29 May
Where:
Female Orphan School, Conference Room 1, Building EZ, Western Sydney University, Cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road Rydalmere, NSW 2116
Bookings:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/a-jew-and-a-palestinian-cross-the-cultural-divide-tickets-34309631030?aff=aff0eventful

Melbourne

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society and the Side Door Present
When:
7:00pm – 9:00pm 4 June
Where:
The Side Door, St. John’s Uniting Church, 567 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick
Bookings:
Free event, no bookings required. Gold coin donation accepted at door.

Readings
When:
6:30pm 5 June
Where:
Readings St Kilda, 112 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
Booking:
Free event, bookings suggested via https://www.readings.com.au/event/double-exposure

Adelaide

Australian Friends of Palestine Association Present
When:
5:30pm – 7:00pm 8 June
Where:
The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA, 5000
Bookings:
Free event, registration is essential via http://www.afopa.com.au/afopa-events/2017/5/16/double-exposure-plays-of-the-jewish-and-palestinian-diaspora

“This diverse mix of dramatic styles and voices is a brave, passionate and collective call, a theatrical catalyst for investigation and resistance.”
— Eve Ensler, Obie Award-winning playwright of The Vagina Monologues

“The powerful and dramatic situations from the plays in Double Exposure transported me into the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza and placed me side by side with three dimensional characters struggling to keep their hope, their humanity and their moral compass amidst the brutalities, large and small, of the most intractable of conflicts. Essential reading.”
—David S. Craig, 2016 Helen Hayes Award–nominated playwright.

“An extraordinary collection of plays penned by some of our most courageous and compassionate playwrights.”
— Jamil Khoury, artistic director of Chicago’s Silk Road Rising Theatre.

https://doubleexposureweb.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/play3wishes/

-ENDS-

For media information and interviews please contact Fuller PR:

Keryn O’Donnell +61 418 603 663        Or        Rain Fuller  + 61 (03) 9016 0526
publicity@fullerpr.com.au rain@fullerpr.com.au

Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi Panel Discussion at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival 2017

 

Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi editors of the groundbreaking anthology Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival 2017. The panel is moderated by Montreal Gazette drama critic, Jim Burke.

This anthology is the first English-language anthology in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers.

To Purchase a copy:
In the US: tcg.org  Or  amazon.com
In Canada: playwrightscanada.com and amazon.ca
In Australia: booktopia.com.au

To read more about this anthology and get updates on events, news and reviews https://doubleexposureweb.wordpress.com

Like our page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/play3wishes/

Artsfile: New anthology shows how theatre can help ease Middle East conflict

Artsfile: New anthology shows how theatre can help ease Middle East conflict

BY PATRICK LANGSTON

Can theatre solve the Middle East conflict?

Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi believe it could help. The two playwrights are the editors of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas. The book focuses on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and is the first-ever English-language anthology of works by Jewish and Palestinian writers. It includes interviews with the various playwrights about the challenges of writing and staging their work.

Orlov – a Boston-born Jew living in Montreal – and Sabawi — a Gaza-born Palestinian now living in Melbourne, Australia – will speak about their book at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on April 30.

“Our hope is that the anthology will give voice to one of the great issues confronting not simply the identity of Jews and Palestinians, but all of humanity,” says Orlov.

Adds Sabawi, who was in Montreal in advance of the duo’s appearance at that city’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival: “The goal is to present stories to bring us closer to understanding the impact of the decisions politicians make on real people on the ground and to shed light on the injustice and oppression.” She says the book exemplifies how a Jewish and a Palestinian playwright can join forces to open up a space that brings both sides closer together.  Read more…

WESTMOUNTMAG:  Most intriguing event at this year’s festival is Bridging the Diaspora Divide, Palestinian and Jewish playwrights come together in groundbreaking anthology

WESTMOUNTMAG: Most intriguing event at this year’s festival is Bridging the Diaspora Divide, Palestinian and Jewish playwrights come together in groundbreaking anthology

By Luc Archambault

Since 1997, the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal has given us a glimpse at the fascinating world of literature, both home grown and from foreign lands. As a bilingual festival, it has a rich program. One of the most intriguing events at this year’s festival is the panel made up of two playwrights, Stephen Orlov, a Jewish-Canadian born in the US, and Samah Sabawi, a Palestinian-Australian who stems from Gaza. Read More

Brownstein: Jewish and Palestinian alliance sets the stage at Blue Met

Brownstein: Jewish and Palestinian alliance sets the stage at Blue Met

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 …

For Immediate Release: A Jew and a Palestinian cross the cultural divide in groundbreaking anthology

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Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas Edited by Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi

Montreal: Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival – Saturday, April 29

Ottawa: Ottawa International Writers Festival – Sunday, April 30

(SEE BELOW FOR ALL EVENTS IN N.Y. TORONTO, SYDNEY, MELBOURNE)

How did two strangers, a Boston-born Jew in Montreal and a Gaza-born Palestinian in Melbourne, embark on such a challenging artistic journey to edit Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers? From literally opposite sides of the world, join award-winning playwrights Stephen Orlov of Montreal and Samah Sabawi of Melbourne as they discuss the complexities, obstacles and creative process in editing this groundbreaking collection. For the events- Bridging the Diaspora Divide -expect a lively and frank discussion at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis on April 29 and Ottawa’s Writers Festival on April 30. The programs, moderated by Playwright Leila Buck, Montreal Gazette drama critic Jim Burke in Montreal and contributing playwright Arthur Milner in Ottawa, also feature scene readings.

“Samah and I met only once at the early stage of our editing journey,” Orlov revealed. “I think we were both surprised at how quickly we bonded in our work via Skype and emails. We faced so many complicated artistic and political hurdles on this two-year journey, but we never wavered in our resolve or our mutual respect.”

This provocative collection of drama stylistically turns the political into the personal. The seven plays vary in genre between drama and comedy, in aesthetic between realism and surrealism, in setting between the Diasporas and Israel/Palestine, and in the political opinions of their characters. Collectively they offer distinct diaspora perspectives on this seemingly endless conflict in their ancestral homeland. As the editors state in their anthology preface, “We categorically reject the notion expressed by some that writing from the safety of our homes, far from the heat of battle, negates our right, our reason or our ability to address the issue in public. The Diaspora journey from page to stage is marked by the cultural footprints of our ancestors and the emotional, material and familial ties of so many to the conflict. This is an issue for all of humanity, not merely for Jews and Palestinians.” Read the full preface here.

“The powerful and dramatic situations from the plays in Double Exposure transported me into the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza and placed me side by side with three dimensional characters struggling to keep their hope, their humanity and their moral compass amidst the brutalities, large and small, of the most intractable of conflicts. Essential reading.” —David S. Craig, 2016 Helen Hayes Award–nominated playwright and president of Playwrights Guild of Canada

Orlov and Sabawi will be speaking at festivals and events in Canada, USA and Australia (please see below) about the plays and their collaboration editing this captivating anthology about the most inflammatory Page 2 of 3 ongoing regional conflict of the past seventy years. The book tackles one of the remaining thematic taboos for most major theatres in the Western world, fuelled for decades by prejudice, ignorance and timidity.

“This diverse mix of dramatic styles and voices is a brave, passionate and collective call, a theatrical catalyst for investigation and resistance.” — Eve Ensler, Obie Award-winning playwright of The Vagina Monologues

This unique anthology about the Israel-Palestine conflict includes three plays written by Jewish playwrights, three by Palestinian playwrights, and one by both, along with interviews with the playwrights exploring the inspirations and challenges they experienced both in writing and staging their work. The plays are penned by highly acclaimed dramatists now residing in the diaspora of five continents: Bitterenders by Hannah Khalil in Ireland; Facts by Arthur Milner in Gatineau, Québec; The Peace Maker by Natasha Greenblatt in Toronto; Sabra Falling by Ismail Khalidi in Chile; Sperm Count by Stephen Orlov in Montreal; Tales of a City by the Sea by Samah Sabawi in Australia; and Twenty-One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East by Abdelfattah AbuSrour in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, West Bank, Lisa Schlesinger in America, and Naomi Wallace in England; with introductions and interviews by award-winning American playwrights, Karen Hartman and Betty Shamieh. Read playwrights bios here.

“An extraordinary collection of plays penned by some of our most courageous and compassionate playwrights.” — Jamil Khoury, artistic director of Chicago’s Silk Road Rising Theatre.

Sabawi’s inspiration for Tales of a City by the Sea and later for the anthology was influenced by her own experiences and stories of family and loved ones under Israeli siege in Gaza. She elaborates, “We’ve been through very tough times. The worst for me was during the 51 days in 2014 when Gaza was being bombarded and I feared for my family’s safety. But you always need to pick yourself up and stay the course. I believe this anthology has a vital role to play in challenging western convictions about the conflict and in breaking the taboos that we’ve normalized for so long in mainstream theatres.” The play’s simultaneous world premieres in Melbourne and the West Bank, along with an Australian tour, played to sold-out houses, but its Gaza premiere had to be cancelled because of destruction and casualties from Israeli bombing raids.

Orlov’s play Sperm Count had its world premiere in London during a politically-charged time shortly after 9-11 and the launching of the War in Afghanistan. The theatre received several anonymous bomb threats, which the cast and crew bravely defied, fortunately without incident. He is now polishing Birthmark, the third in his dual-diaspora trilogy, and explains his role as a progressive Jewish dramatist: “Plays that promote peace and social justice must be delivered by characters portraying a range of human frailty and strength along the moral spectrum, characters in conflict true to their times, their place and their culture. My greatest challenge as a Jewish playwright tackling plays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is creating with anecdotal accuracy, authentic Palestinian characters free of stereotypical depiction. I suspect the same is true for most Palestinian playwrights creating Jewish characters. Cultural appropriation must be avoided, but if writers don’t dare to cross the cultural divide with diligence and mutual respect, we will fall short of our visionary goal.”

Bridging the Diaspora Divide: Jewish and Palestinian playwrights come together in ground breaking anthology

Blue Met– Sat. April 29, 1:30-3:00 pm, moderated by Montreal Gazette critic and playwright Jim Burke Hotel 10, Salle Godin- 10 Sherbrooke St. west, Montreal Tickets

Ottawa Writers Festival- Sun. April 30, 2:00-3:30, moderated by playwright Arthur Milner, Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St., Ottawa Tickets http://www.writersfestival.org

 

Other Canada, US and Australia appearances at festivals and events for Double Exposure:

New York City -Book Culture –April 23, 4:00-6:00 pm, bookstore branch at 536 W 112th St., NYC, also with Ismail Khalidi, contributing playwright and co-editor of Inside/Outside: Six plays from Palestine and the Diaspora, co-sponsored with Theatre Communication Group (US) and Playwrights Canada Press.

Ottawa -sponsored by Middle East Dialogue Group, April 27, by invitation only.

Toronto -Canadian Play Outlet – Orlov and Sabawi will be available for Toronto media interviews May 3-5 while in town for their panel and reading, by invitation only, at Playwrights Guild of Canada’s launch of their new drama bookstore, Canadian Play Outlet.

Sydney -Sydney Writers Festival – May 26, and Whitlam Institute of Western Sydney University – May 29

Melbourne -Side Door  – June 4 at St. John’s Uniting Church in Elsternwick, and Readings (2016 international bookstore of the year) – June 5, at St. Kilda branch.

 

Montreal Media Contact: Shelley Pomerance 514 270-1199 shelley.pomerance@metropolisbleu.org

Ottawa and Toronto Media Contact: Stephen Orlov: 514 751-2548 stephen.orlov@sympatico.ca

The artistic and political complexity of dramatizing onstage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:  A response to Dr. Vlazna’s review of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas

The artistic and political complexity of dramatizing onstage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A response to Dr. Vlazna’s review of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas

As co-editor with Palestinian playwright and poet, Samah Sabawi, of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, I appreciate Dr. Vacy Vlazna’s March 31st complimentary review in Palestine Chronicle of our groundbreaking anthology, but I feel compelled to address a thematic and character misrepresentation in her account of my play, Sperm Count.

I offer this clarification not as a personal criticism of Dr. Vlazna, an esteemed academic activist and editor in support of Palestine. I realize, as she acknowledges, that the reading of plays, especially by non-theatre-practitioners, sometimes misses thematic or character nuances that are apparent when actors deliver them onstage with emotional subtext often contrary to the literal meaning of their dialogue lines. Despite this, reading plays is a page-turning experience for most lovers of literature, because character conflict intensifies scene-by-scene from beginning to end.

Sperm Count, a dark-comedy drama featuring a Jewish Montreal family and their Palestinian doctor, depicts male infertility as a multi-layered metaphor; a sperm character, potentially conceived with a Palestinian egg, on a mission for lineage, satirical allegory of nationhood and the battle for statehood.

Dr. Vlazna was offended by what she describes as “the nazification of the one and only Palestinian character, Dr. Hamid,” particularly by allusions made to Nazi experimentation on Jews “in the dream image of Said wearing a traditional Arab robe with a swastika armband and a keffiyeh, (who) then waves goodbye with a Nazi salute.” This indeed is how the stage directions describe Said’s portrayal in that scene, but the reviewer’s judgmental reference is taken out of context. This is a nightmare scene depicting Said as a distorted figment of the Jewish husband David’s nightmare. London audiences at Sperm Count’s premiere run clearly realized this was not meant as an actual characterization of Said as a Palestinian Nazi.

On the contrary, in the context of the overall plot, this nightmare scene dramatically exposes metaphorically how Israeli propaganda uses the Holocaust to viscerally rationalize, especially among diaspora Jews, its oppressive occupation of Palestine. David’s nightmare challenges his self-professed liberal image as a supporter of Palestine and reveals his own latent racism long denied, fueled earlier by his wife Lena’s IVF failures at Said’s fertility clinic and ongoing anti-Arab diatribes by his estranged father, Jacob, a Holocaust survivor.

Dr. Vlazna takes issue with Jacob’s racist diatribes targeting Said’s genetic research and his mysterious visit to Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. But the heart of drama is delivered by characters forced to change or resist change through conflict; without it, drama is simply boring. How can a playwright depict authentically racist Jewish characters in conflict with Palestinians except through anti-Arab dialogue and action true to their dogmatic worldview?

Playwriting relies on the theatrical conventions of “set-up and pay-off” and “show don’t tell” to create compelling characters in a suspenseful plot structure, the salt and pepper of a great script. Negative character exposition early on sets up more powerfully their positive pay-off twists at the end…and vice versa for characters that initially hide their weak or detestable nature only to be later exposed. The true nature of characters is not revealed principally by what they say, but by the decisions they make under pressure; and it’s in the climax scene that pressure explodes revealing the essential heart of characters.

Dr. Vlazna correctly points out that David’s wife Lena supplants David as a hero character, which I intended. But I would maintain that at the end, it is Said who stands tallest among all characters on the moral high ground. The revelation of his brave treatment of Palestinian children in Kuwait during the height of the Persian Gulf War, his spirited integrity as a dedicated proud Palestinian doctor in the face of racist slurs, and his snap decision rushing from a family wedding to save Lena at the hospital are reasons, I sense, why Palestinians in the audiences complimented me on his character and the authenticity of his voice.

The job of a progressive dramatist is to deliver plays that promote peace and social justice delivered by characters in conflict true to their times, their place and their culture. My greatest challenge as a Jewish playwright tackling plays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is creating with anecdotal accuracy authentic Palestinian characters free of stereotypical depiction; I suspect the same is true for most Palestinian playwrights creating Jewish characters. Cultural appropriation must be avoided, but if Jewish writers don’t dare to cross the cultural divide with diligence and mutual respect, we will fall short of our visionary goal.

I agree with Dr. Vlazna that writing a play about the refugee experience of Mrs. Hassan, who is merely alluded to in Sperm Count as an unseen Palestinian patient whose egg was mixed up at the fertility clinic, could make for powerful drama. Mrs. Hassan and her adopted Palestinian daughter, Hana, are central characters in my commissioned sequel, Birthmark, which Teesri Duniya Theatre, Canada’s most progressive political theatre company, plans to premiere.

I thank with deep respect Dr. Vlazna for her complimentary review of Double Exposure and especially for her ongoing work in support of Palestine. I hope her review and my commentary offer insight, however modestly, to the artistic and political complexity of dramatizing onstage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Stephen Orlov, April 1, 2017, Montreal.