Stage Door News

Toronto: “Tales of a City by the Sea” has its North American premiere December 6-15

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Winner of two Drama Victoria awards, and Green Room Award Nominee for Best Independent Production, Tales of a City by the Sea will have its North American Premiere this December at Theatre Passe Muraille.

As news of war and casualties returns, once again, from Gaza, the play explores the human stories of love, grief, humor and friendship in the besieged strip. Canadian-Australian-Palestinian playwright, Samah Sabawi, says that her play helps audiences overcome empathy fatigue. “The role of art becomes essential for connecting humanity, one script at a time. It challenges audiences to ask how they would make heart-breaking choices in a war-zone.” 

Sabawi, a multiple award-winning playwright, poet, author and commentator returns to Canada for the opening night and to participate in talkbacks after several performances.

Tales of a City by the Sea tells the story of  Jomana, a Palestinian woman living in a Gaza refugee camp, and Rami, an American-born Palestinian doctor and activist who has just arrived on one of the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Rami and Jomana’s love is met with a relentless string of challenges. Ultimately, Rami must decide between returning to his comfortable life in Texas or staying in Palestine with Jomana. Choosing to stay means leaving his family and career behind for a life ravaged by war, while leaving means not only losing Jomana but also ignoring the plight of the Palestinians.

Woven together from the actual experiences of people living under occupation, this internationally acclaimed play has been staged to full houses and nightly standing ovations in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kuala Lumpur and Palestine. The play was selected for the Victorian Curriculum of Education and has been studied by thousands of university and high school students.

Rahaf Fasheh, a Canadian of Palestinian origin directs two brilliant Palestinian-Canadian lead actors, Saja Kilani and Anas Hasan, in roles that they portray with authenticity. Rounding out the cast is a dynamic, diverse ensemble of actors Maher Sinno, Liana Bdéwi, Basel Daoud, May Tartoussy, Naseem Reesha, Khira Wieting, Kody Poisson and Nawal Hamdan.

Making a special appearance is Jordanian-born powerhouse vocalist Shireen Abu Khader, founder of Dozan wa Awtar Choral Music Establishment. Joining her as a vocalist is Natalie Fasheh.

Set designer Kayla Chaterji developed her vision, spanning locations in Gaza and Texas, from the imagery of native fig trees and sabra plants. Sound designer Matt Lalonde experiments with lapses in time, layering sounds heard both in the excruciating present and lingering past.

Playwright Samah Sabawi brings Canadians along for an hour-long journey inspired by “the strength and defiance of ordinary people in Palestine, who despite the horrific war, siege, and brutality of the Israeli Occupation, still insist that life is worth living  and love is worth celebrating.”

Tales of a City by the Sea

December 6-15, 2019

Presented by Canadian Friends of Sabeel

Theatre Passe Muraille 16 Ryerson Ave, Toronto

Tickets $15-30 (discounts: students/seniors/groups/special discount night on Tues, Dec 10)

There will be a talkback with invited guests on: Dec 8,10,14

Box Office: or