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Drama / Theatre > Performance

The Pessoptimist - Saeed, the Donkey, & the Israeli Big Man

A play performed by the Sidetrack Performance Group

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The Pessoptimist - Saeed, the Donkey, & the Israeli Big Man


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The Pessoptimist… “a message to earthlings from outer space.”
With a cast of extra-terrestrials, Palestinian refugees, Israeli Military governors, strong women, heroes, Arab collaborators, and cowards, The Pessoptimist achieves the impossible: A comic play on the crisis in Palestine that addresses the issues of displacement and occupation yet remains hilarious throughout. This new play, based on the novel by the late celebrated Palestinian writer Emile Habiby, is a powerful and prophetic window into the underlying causes of the Palestine/Israeli conflict.

Saeed was just a normal everyday Palestinian... until God and the United Nations gave his country to the Israelis. As his family is escaping to Lebanon they are hit by Israeli gunfire. Saeed escapes death when a donkey strays into the line of fire but his father is not so lucky. As the old man lies dying he tells the young Saeed that, should he wish to return home, he should seek the help of an Israeli official by the name of Adon Safsarsheck.

A few months later Saeed returns to Palestine, now called Israel, riding on a donkey, he has no papers, no passport, only the name, "Safsarsheck." Through the influence of Safsarsheck Saeed is found a job in the Palestine Workers Union. And so begins Saeed's new life as a Palestinian-Israeli. Yet no matter how hard he tries to become a good Israeli citizen he is never allowed to forget that he is a Palestinian. His life and times lead him from catastrophe to catastrophe until finally he seeks refuge with creatures from outer space.

PS: What is the difference between a pessimist and an optimist living in Israel… The pessimist says things can’t get any worse while the optimist says they can.
Sidetrack Theatre Company 2005, Directed & adapted by Don Mamouney, video by Assad Abdi Performed by: Paul Barakat, Buddy Dannoun, Hani Malick, Amanda Mitchell, Mariam Saab, Ben Tari. See more from Sidetrack

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