Sunday, March 21, 2010

Palestinian Play in Donegal a big Success

A much larger than expected crowd attended an event to mark International Women's Week in Dungloe last weekend. The event, a play entitled "Clouds on a Mountain Road", was held in Ionad Teampall Chróine, Dungloe, and staged by Derry based theatre company Sole Purpose Productions.

Well over one hundred people turned up on the Saturday evening (13th March) and packed into the upstairs room in Ionad Teampall Chróine, Dungloe, to see the two local actresses, Carmel McCafferty and Abby Oliveira, put on a very emotional and moving performance which got a standing ovation from the audience on the night.

The emotive play looked at the issue of two women living in Palestine, how they deal with the brutal occupation of the Israeli Defence Forces, the conflict the occupation causes and the personal hurt and emotion caused to the women by the conflict. Orna Akad, who wrote the play, looked at how women resist the occupation and the great angst which it causes them, as well as their efforts to make change in their own way, was at the heart of the play.

One of the women portrayed in the play was internationally acclaimed Palestinian poet, Fadwa Tuqan, a women from a comfortable background who had seen the world and lived a western style life. The other was a younger Palestinian women, Inshirah Shiti, a political ex-prisoner and militant from a much poorer background, holding strong religious views. Throughout the course of the play the two women discussed their feelings, the effects the conflict has had on them and the reasons for doing what they did in their own way to resist the occupation of their homeland.

Éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig who organised the Dungloe event said he was overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up on the night to see the play and mark International Women's Week. Speaking after the event Micheál Cholm said, "I was amazed and delighted to see so many people make the effort to show up and support this event. Such a crowd turned up that we had to close the doors and unfortunately we had to turn people who came late away, which I'd like to apologise for as I appreciate the fact they made the effort to come to the event. But we just had no more room to fit people in."

"It was such an emotional performance and it was hard not to be moved by the subject matter. All too often the issue of how conflict affects women and people in general on a personal level is overlooked. This play, particularly on International Women's Week, was a good opportunity to do just that. The brutality meted out on the Palestinian people on a daily basis continues and all the problems that come with that affect them both emotionally and psychologically, as well as socially, from the very youngest to the very oldest in their society. There were so many people sitting around me who were moved to tears and that reaction just went to show that the audience took on board the message of the play", he said.

"A women speaking to me after the play said throughout the performance, she could visualise pictures of the suffering of the Palestinian people and almost relived the footage which was shown around the world of the horrors of the prolonged Israeli military attacks on Gaza and its people in early 2009. Not only that but she said she could relate what the women discussed in the play to her own terrible experiences living through the on-going British occupation in the North of Ireland where she had lived for most of her life. So I feel that the play did a service, not only of marking International Women's Week, but in educating people about the many issues, challenges and emotions women face in times of conflict."

Micheál finished by thanking all those involved in helping to stage the play and also thanked the people who turned up on the night to see it.

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