Arts and Culture | Local

Cholla High to stage verbatim theatre piece, ‘The Arab-Israeli Cookbook’

Promoting global awareness — as well as culinary coexistence — played a part in the choice of Cholla High Magnet School’s 2014 fall presentation of “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook” by Robin Soans, directed by Julian Martinez, the play is produced in partnership with the Qatar Foundation International.

Assembled from first-person interviews, “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook” follows multiple stories from differing points of view of characters in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in Israeli settlements. As they cook, the characters talk about families, social issues, violence, love and hate.

arab israeli cookbook“I performed in ‘The Arab-Israeli Cookbook’ in 2008 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the role of Fadi, directed by Rob Chambers,” Martinez, the school’s theatre director, told the AJP. “Not only is the play fun and a challenge for theatre practitioners, but it’s a unique piece of verbatim theatre that unites two cultures through food. In a climate where conflict creates opposition, similarities in the tastiest, most communal of basic needs can hopefully remind audiences how similar we are.

“As an International Baccalaureate school, Cholla High Magnet School is the ideal venue for such a venture … or am I doing it for the homemade hummus and gefilte fish?”

Following the play, audience members will be invited to discuss the play — and enjoy dishes from the Middle East — with Tucson Unified School District teachers Leslie Franzblau and Peter Blankfield, and Lisa Adeli, Ph.D. from TUSD and the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Tickets for “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook” are $10 at the door. Performances are Nov. 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. at Cholla High Magnet School, 2001 W. Starr Pass. For moreinformation, contact Martinez at 225-4161.