I am currently producing and co-writing Defiance with critically acclaimed playwright and Dabke dancer, Ahmed Najar. Ahmed and I met in 2001 in London. He was on tour from Gaza. I was reading poetry at Paddington Festival. The play will take the stage at The Cockpit Theatre in April 2021.
In 2021, meet Amani.
Painting by Palestinian artists, Imad Abu Shtayyeh
In 2021, Ahmed Najar will present his new play, Defiance, at the Cockpit Theatre in London.
A new play, DEFIANCE, pushes boundaries of traditions and gender roles while breaking stereotypes. Rising against the expectations of a young woman, Amani focuses all her strength and energy on being the best journalist in the world. Ambition and courage drive her to report from checkpoints and the very edge of tragedies in the ongoing occupation of her country. Against censure from authorities, she will do anything to get the story. The play asks the questions about the very nature of Story and the border between reporting and experience. What happens when Amani focuses so strongly on “getting the story” that she is forced to come to terms with her own? Aided by her professional partner, photographer and videographer Sami, Amani moves ever closer to her dream of journalistic excellence.
The journey also moves her ever closer to profound self-discovery, both of which come at the cost of pain and acceptance of what it means to be a storyteller in the full meaning of the word. Through the character of her father, audiences will also see the insistence of tradition upon the personal narrative of becoming who we are meant to be and the struggles we undergo to strike a balance between history and identity. Told through news reportage, video, spoken word, dialogue, and the exquisite and groundbreaking Dabke choreography for which writer and director, Ahmed Najar is internationally acclaimed, DEFIANCE promises to welcome audiences into new understanding of themselves, the world, and what it means to tell your own story in a world that too much imposes one upon you.
Amani, 28, an award-winning journalist, seeks to report events no matter how dangerous. Determined and defiant, she seeks the edge beyond concern for personal safety and thrives in the zone of what she views as the purest truthtelling. This flashpoint of action repeats for her a moment in childhood when tragedy first occurred.
Ayman, Amani’s dad lives with Amani in their West Bank flat. With two sons having emigrated, he casts his love upon his remaining child. Diligent in his role, he excitedly awaits the day he finds the right young man for her, in accordance with tradition and also deep care for her future.
Sami, 32, an award-winning videographer and Amani’s professional partner is an artist and craftsman of witness. Driven by light and his pursuit of excellence, he can see beyond the frame of his images and films to a broader picture of life. In a place where every story is told with risk and danger, can he create a peaceful life?
Join these characters as they walk between the worlds of event and witness, worlds that are nearly impossible to balance with the rest of their lives comprised of love, duty, family, and visions of the future which may or may not unfold as they expect.
production update for Defiance