Gaza Monologues - real life stories of young people in Gaza come to the Civic

By Hayden Moore 

Turning on the news and seeing that there has been more death and destruction to the Palestinian state of Gaza has become something many of us are being slowly desensitised to because we can’t fathom what that must feel like.

‘The Gaza Monologues’ is a play that aims to bring the real-life stories of young people in Gaza to 40 cities all around the world in order to shed some more light on the tragedies in a relatable way – by casting young people in the play from each of those cities to deliver the original monologues delivered by the 33 Palestinian teenagers in 2010.

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Tony Fegan is the director of The Gaza Monologues here in South Dublin, where 33 young people from Tallaght, Clondalkin and the surrounding areas will bring these stories to the Civic Theatre in Tallaght. 

The Director of Tallaght Community Arts, Tony Fegan, who is from Walkinstown, spoke to The Echo about the importance of this play for young people, the challenge of the sensitive subject matter, and what we can expect from the show.

What exactly is The Gaza Monologues?

The Gaza Monologues was originally created in 2010 by Ashtar Theatre Group in Palestine. It was created by a bunch of teenagers who saw their homes being bombed, and their friends and family being killed, they lived through this and seen this carnage all around them. They decided to join this group and create this play where they tell their very own real personal stories through monologues, and they received an unbelievable response to it. Since then, it’s been in 40 countries all around the world, and in 18 different languages with young people from each city making up the show.

How important is this for young people?

We’re doing two matinees and two late shows, but the two matinees where very important to the cast because they felt that young people like themselves know nothing about what’s going on in Gaza, and all of that business in terms of the housing crises and the bombing is just something they don’t know about. They are all transition year students who are doing the play, and they don’t watch the conventional format of the news so they don’t see the utter chaos going on over there.

Is it challenging to direct a play that deals with such a sensitive subject matter?

I think the challenge is representing those people who did the original in 2010 and baring witness to those stories, the young people from Tallaght are not becoming characters or pretending to be something else, they are the mouthpiece for those young Palestinian’s in 2010. The young people in Tallaght who are in the play correspond with each person’s stories, and these guys can only imagine what it must be like to be doing your exams and then leaving school only to be bombarded with bombs. It was very important to do the matinee to them because they wanted to play it in front of their own age group, so they can help get an understanding of what’s going on over in Gaza because there is a difference in seeing it on a TV screen, and seeing it acted out in front of you.

What drew you to this project?

I have been interested in the situation and what has been going on over in Gaza for a number of years. I had heard of Ashtar Theatre Group in the past and I knew about them, but one day I was reading something and I seen that they were performing this thing called ‘The Gaza Monologues’ so I went online to check it out. They had a text of the play published online, and I printed that and brought it to the producer. It’s not really a conventional play as sorts, it’s a series of testimonies from each of the 33 people and we just moulded it into a story so it’s like people are telling their stories to others.

How has the production been going so far?

Everybody who stars in the play are young performers, singers, musicians, and designers from Tallaght, Clondalkin and the surrounding areas. We wanted to create a stage that captures Gaza, not so much by showing a blown-up city per say, but we wanted to get a deep psychological sense of what it feels like to be trapped and enclosed, in an area between the sea and a wire fence – just like those in Gaza and bring that to an audience.

What can the audience expect from the Gaza Monologues?

There is so much going on over there in Gaza that it has essentially become one huge prison camp. There is such powerful stuff happening and still nothing changes – and that’s why that right to return symbol is such a powerful one. The monologues can be very dark at times, but they are full of hopes and dreams just like any other young person, they just want to live a normal life. This play is about getting beyond the headline because it’s somebody’s actual story, so people automatically feel empathy towards these innocent kids, and it can remind those of their own kids who are just trying to go to school – except there is people and things being blown up all around them.

Presented by Tallaght Community Arts, The Gaza Monologues will be staged at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on August 30 and 31 at 2pm and 8pm both days. 

Tickets cost €10 and €7 with concession. Book your tickets HERE

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