Critical Stages Touring
Written by – Samah Sabawi
Directed by – Bagryana Popov
Sound Design – Elissa Goodrich
Lighting Design – Shane Grant
Set & Costume Design – Lara Week
Piano – Nahad Elrayes
Cast – Taj Aldeeb, Nahed Elrayes, Claudia Greenstone, Adeeb Razzouk, Osamah Sami, Mehran Tajbakhsh
From multiple-award winning playwright Samah Sabawi comes THEM— a compelling tale of survival, friendship, and the things we are willing to do to protect the ones we love.
THEM tells the story of one young family as they face the decision whether to flee their war-torn city. Omar, Leila and their young child are counting down the days. Their friends enjoy fantasies of escape and the arrival of Omar’s sister brings a real chance to get out – but at what cost?
Developed in consultation with people living in conflict zones and displaced by war, the play was first supported by Melbourne Theatre Company’s Cybec Electric program before enjoying a sell-out extended season at the famed La Mama Theatre.
With unexpected tenderness, laughter, and song, THEM takes audiences into extraordinary circumstances to reveal our shared humanity in the ordinary moments that shape our lives.
Recommended for ages 15+
Theatre, Black Box Venue
2019 – La Mama Courthouse, 13 performances
What People Are Saying
“There is no amount of praise that is sufficient to heap on Samah Sabawi’s writing and Bagryana Popov’s directing… Perhaps the most important piece of theatre you will see this year” The Music
“A drama dappled with humanity and humour” Sydney Morning Herald
“It’s simply phenomenal work. It is important. People need to be seeing this play.” Theatre Travels
“THEM is a powerful reminder that when it comes to humanity, there is no them but only an us.” Melbourne Arts Review
About Samah Sabawi
Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Australian-Canadian playwright, commentator and poet. Her plays Cries From The Land and Three Wishes had successful runs in Canada; Tales Of A City By The Sea enjoyed a sold-out premiere season at La Mama Theatre in 2014 and an Arabic premiere at Alrowwad’s Cultural Theater Society in Palestine. In 2016, Tales of a City by the Sea was remounted and toured to Australian cities and to Malaysia, was selected for the 2016 VCE Drama Playlist, won two awards from Drama Victoria, and was nominated for Best Independent Production at the Green Room Awards. Sabawi is co-editor with Steven Orloff of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas (Playwrights Canada Press 2016), a groundbreaking anthology about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and winner of Canada’s prestigious Patrick O’Neill Award. Samah is a cultural ambassador for Melbourne Theatre Company and Multicultural Arts Victoria, and a PhD candidate at Victoria University.
Selling Points and Audience
Theatre lovers: THEM is an accessible, high quality, play written by an exciting contemporary playwright. It features a compelling narrative; well-drawn and immediately identifiable characters; and it carries with it a contemporary, topical urgency.
Diaspora audiences: Hundreds of refugees are settled in regional cities and towns each year and this is a wonderful opportunity to engage them in a production that reflects the refugee experience with authenticity and integrity.
Schools: THEM is rich in themes and access points for students of English, Theatre Studies and Drama, International and Gender Politics, and History.
Good to Know
- Topical relevance
- Quality production (reviews, production history)
- Local communities
- Samah and the wider team are available for PR and have personal connections to the stories behind this play. They are confident and compelling speakers on the play’s themes and background.
- International provenance of the playwright, the team and the story.
THEM enjoyed a sell-out extended season at La Mama Courthouse in 2019 and will be presented at the Melbourne Arts Centre in late 2020. The work was selected for the 2020 VCE Theatre Studies Playlist, was shortlisted for the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and has been nominated for four Green Room Awards for Independent Theatre including Best Production, Ensemble, Direction and Writing (announced in March 2020)
Meet & Greet
The creative team are experienced with meeting members of local diaspora communities.
Abdulrahman can host poetry workshops and is highly experienced with working in communities in this way.
Schools and VCE Playlist
THEM is supported by excellent education resources designed for the VCE Playlist, and these are easily adaptable to a wide variety of local contexts, such as community-based resources, other courses of study, etc.
THEM is supported by Laa Trobe University, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative, and the Australia Council for the Arts, the arts funding and advisory body of the Australian Government.