Tennis in Nablus
by Ismail Khalidi
directed by Lisa Portes
originally produced at Alliance Theatre,
through February 21, 2010
Tennis in Nablus is the sixth winner of the nationally recognized Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition. Written by emerging playwright Ismail Khalidi, this World Premiere provides an unexpected view of Palestine, circa 1939. Tennis in Nablus looks at Palestine’s embattled status through the eyes of a lifelong rebel, his wife (a writer of anti-colonial tracts) and his enterprising young nephew. It is a play about allegiance, struggle and crisis, where events and people are not what they seem.
Ismail Khalidi possesses an audacious imagination, looking for the cause of embattled status rather than trafficking in the status itself. Ultimately, his argument is that colonization caused Jewish/Arab enmity. To that end, the work presents a great opportunity to explore a difficult historical period with care and intellectual rigor. The Alliance embraces the challenging conversations that will accompany producing this play (and have already reached out for partnerships producing these dialogues to the Anti Defamation League and Emory University’s Department of Jewish Studies), and trust Khalidi’s voice to guide us with compassion from all sides of the issue.
This is a play that the Alliance is deeply proud to produce. It provides a great opportunity to reach out to Jewish and Palestinian organizations in Atlanta, as well as our college communities. Further, the provocation of the subject matter and the sweeping scope of the piece aesthetically is genuinely exciting. It is rare to find a deep sense of history accompanying such rigorous talent. Ismail Khalidi has the potential to be a David Hare, John Guare, or Tom Stoppard - a writer of ideas.
Set Design:Brian Bembridg
Lighting Design:Mike Post
Sound Design:Clay Benning
Costume Design:Anne Kennedy