Young Palestinians Not Alone - Gaza Monologues
The 'Gaza Monologues' were performed by an international cast of young actors in front of the UN on November 29th, the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
After the war in Gaza (2008/09), Ashtar Theatre worked with young Gazans to find a peaceful way of dealing with their experiences. So they wrote the Gaza Monologues, dealing with their everyday lives during and after the war, their dreams, hopes and fears.
On October 17th, young actors from more than 40 cities in the world performed these monologues to bring attention to the young Gazans’ suffering. Since Gaza is still blocked by the Israeli Defence Force, the young actors are not able to tour with their performance. So, their Palestinian director, Iman Aoun had the idea to get one actor from each group that performed in October to New York City, so they could perform The Gaza Monologues in front of the UN on November 29th.
For Joanna Mandalian (above), a young actress from Berlin, the ten days in New York was a life-changing experience.
"Visiting New York and getting to know all the different people from different cultures was one great experience. But the extraordinary thing was our responsibility: Gaza’s youth trusted us to perform their words in a way that would convince the UN assembly," says Joanna.
The group rehearsed every day up to ten hours per day and became very close, she adds.
"We had three performances: one on 28th in “LaMama etc”, a theatre in East Village and two on 29th: in front of the UN assembly and at the Vernissage of the UNRWA in the UN-Lobby. Each performance was unique and intense. The directors Iman Aoun (Palestine), Shauna Kanter (USA) and Lydia Ziemke (Germany) and their assistants worked a lot for us and we all used the chance to learn about behaviour on stage, social abilities and much more," she says.
The Monologues were performed by 22 participants between 14 and 23 years old. They come from the USA, France, Italy, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
"We came together to do a performance that would hopefully change many minds," says Joanna.
(Photos: Jed Brandt)