RLS project coordinator in Gaza, wrote an article about the theatre play “The Cage”
The Cage – Theatre in Gaza
By: Beesan Shehade
“The Cage” is a theatre play, produced and performed by Ashtar Theatre, and it reflects the situation in Gaza in the wake of the latest Israeli aggression.
As part of the support from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftungto raise social and political awareness in the Palestinian society, Ashtar Theatre in Gaza performed a play in April, reflecting on the situation of most vulnerable groups of the community during and after the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
The play is called “Al-Qafas” meaning “The Cage”; a metaphor of how people of Gaza have been trapped in the completely besieged strip where people have no control over their life.
The play aimed at showing the reality of the humanitarian crises at UN shelters and the experience of displaced families and injured people, and how some officials took advantage of the suffering of people to serve their political self-interests. The play was performed several times at one of Gaza’s few cultural centers, whereas a group of 10 young men and women professionally conveyed the message by performing in front of an audience of approximately 400 people of different age groups in each performance.
As the Arabic proverb says: “The worst disaster is the one that brings laughter” – people interacted and laughed often during the performance which was described by the audience as “outspoken”, “expressive” and “frustrating”.
Yousri Alghoul, a writer and activist, who attended the play, said:“The play is effective and painful, it should be performed regionally and internationally because it shows our pain, and I hope if the political leaders could watch it, as it might strike them if they still have feelings.”
Another attendee of the play commented: “This creative performance resembles the reality of the situation after the Israeli aggression. The scenes reflected the most critical issues people faced and how politicians were, unfortunately, the only ‘winners’”.
Weam El Dairi, a young woman activist said: “It’s so real, and it delivers a message to the leaders that we, the people, are the victims of their bad decisions”.
Ali Abu Yaseen, the theatre play director was very happy that the theatre was full, and the people were very active, they applause all the way to the end. He added:“People in Gaza love life and it’s very nice that we have theatre here. Theatre is an effective tool to convey messages that are often neglected by the mainstream media”.
It is worthwhile mentioning that this play is one of several activities and projects Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung is supporting in Gaza that aim on strengthening the role of civil society and on giving a voice to the marginalized groups of the community.
Beesan Shehade is the project coordinator of the RLS Regional Office Palestine in Gaza