From Palestine to the moon with 'Grey Rock'

2 minute read
'Grey Rock' is a first of its kind for American theater companies. (Photo by Carlos Cardona.)
'Grey Rock' is a first of its kind for American theater companies. (Photo by Carlos Cardona.)

Grey Rock is the first play by a Palestinian artist created on commission by an American theater company, for American audiences. Playwright and director Amir Nizar Zuabi developed the new theatrical work for Remote Theater Project in association with GOH Productions, an arts nonprofit based in New York dedicated to new interdisciplinary art with global vision. Humorous and inspiring, Grey Rock will make its Philadelphia debut at the Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio.

Bright side of the moon

Grey Rock uses the 1969 moon landing to explore how American culture has permeated and influenced Palestinian culture. Set in the present day, the play tells the story of an ordinary Palestinian citizen fascinated with the story of the US lunar expedition. He begins to believe his country belongs in space, too, asking himself, “Shouldn’t Palestine, the land of prophets, also have a presence on the moon?” He determines to get there himself, setting out to build a space rocket in his shed with no resources besides the help of his bemused West Bank neighbors.

This play aims to entertain and inspire. “Grey Rock is about the inalienable right to dream,” says Remote Theater Project’s Alexandra Aron. The company brings geographically or politically isolated theater artists to New York City to develop new work and helps them to tour internationally so that their voices can be heard. Aron sought the commission as a means of using theater to explore the relationship between the United States and Palestine.

Grey Rock will be performed in English by actors from across Palestine. The five-member cast includes Khalifa Natour, the actor who played Simon in the film The Band’s Visit (2007). Absurd and poignant, the play first premiered at La MaMa Theatre and was featured at the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

What, When, Where:

Grey Rock will be performed at the SEI Innovation Studio February 6-9, 2020. Tickets can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, online, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. This performance is BYOB.

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