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Arab American theater this weekend


This Thursday evening, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Pomegranates & Myrrh, Al-Mor wa Al-Rumman in Arabic, will be making its Chicago debut at 8:00 p.m. as the closing film of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival.  Written and directed by Ramallah based Palestinian writer and director, Najwa Najjar, Pomegranates & Myrrh is a story of separation and conflict both physical and emotional.  Najjar’s first feature film, Pomegranates has garnered attention and rave reviews worldwide.  Featuring stars such as Hiam Abbas known for her roles in Munich, Amreeka and The Visitor, as well as Yasmine Al Masri of Caramel, this film portrays the life and inner conflict of a young newlywed couple who barely settles in to married life before the groom, Ashraf Farah, is thrown in an Israeli jail on a trumped up charge.  Overnight, his young wife, played by Al Masri, goes from blissful bride to the wife of a prisoner.  Tickets to this Thursday’s show can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.

Also making its Chicago premiere this weekend is a play by Jennifer Jajeh; I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid To Tell You.  This one woman tragicomedy, stars Jajeh herself, a single Catholic Palestinian American woman.  Having to deal with frequent comments and unsolicited opinions about Palestine, Jajeh decides to explore the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for herself throughout this acclaimed production.  The play addresses the absurd questions and assumptions that often come with being Palestinian, which to some is cause for consternation in and of itself.

I Heart Hamas has sold out to audiences in San Francisco, New York and Minneapolis.  It was featured in Steadstyle Chicago Theater News, March 29, 2010.  The play is directed by W. Kamau Bell, whose television appearances include Comics Unleashed and Comedy Central.  Despite its controversial title, it has garnered exceptional reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, SF Bay Times, Flavorpill and the Bay Guardian.  It was extended twice in San Francisco and runs from April 30th through May 16th at The Prop Theater at 3502 N. Elston Avenue here in Chicago.  Tickets can be purchased here.

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