Claudia Greenstone as Salma.   Image by  Justyn Koh .

Claudia Greenstone as Salma. Image by Justyn Koh.

THEM

Produced by Lara Week
Written by Samah Sabawi, directed by Bagryana Popov 

THEM is a new play by Samah Sabawi, writer of the award-winning Tales of a City by the Sea. Caught in a city at war, Omar, Leila, and their young child count down the days before a boat sails to a safer place. The journey will come at a cost. Is it a cost they are prepared to pay?

The play grew from a need to respond to the global refugee crisis, and to the divisive “us” and “them” rhetoric that dominates the national discourse. Confronted by protests in Europe against an “invasion” of people seeking asylum, Sabawi began to imagine what life was like for those arriving before they left home. What would lead a family to board a boat, knowing it may never arrive to another shore? How do people make the decision to leave everything they know and love behind, seeking homes in places they are not wanted?

THEM premiered at La Mama Courthouse in Melbourne in May 2019, selling out two weeks before opening night. It was directed by Bagryana Popov, known for her sensitive interdisciplinary work on the themes of displacement and trauma as a result of war, and brought together an extraordinary team of artists with roots in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Malta and Chile, from faith backgrounds including Muslim, Jewish and Christian.

For more information and reviews, see our website.

“A drama dappled with humanity and humour amid the horrors of war.” 
★★★★
Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald

“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.” 
★★★★★
Irene Ball, The Music

“[This] warm, moving play […] is a welcome antidote to common images of the Middle East as a region beset with terrorism and violence.”
Kate Herbert, Herald Sun