Separated by continents, an estranged father and son reunite over Zoom. From their respective kitchens in Ramallah and New York City, they recreate a cherished family recipe and struggle to bridge the gap between them, one ingredient at a time. Told through the intimacy of a video call, with humor and humanity Amir Nizar Zuabi’s new play explores the unpredictable nature of grief and the delicacy of family connection across geographical and generational divides.
DECEMBER 5, 2020 – JANUARY 3, 2021
Written by Amir Nizar Zuabi
Directed by Evren Odcikin
Video Systems Designer
Rachael Danielle Albert
In honor of THIS IS WHO I AM‘s on-demand run, we are hosting a giveaway of prizes worth $300+, including a grand prize of over $200-worth of fair trade olive oil from Palestine, olive oil soap, and za’tar! Thank you to our community partner Zatoun for their sponsorship and friendship. Click on the image to learn more about how to join!
GRAND PRIZE: 6 bottles of fair-trade olive oil from Palestine with 2 packages of za’atar and 2 100% olive soap bars (worth $200+)
SECOND PRIZE: “Palestine on a Plate” cookbook by Joudie Kalla (worth $45)
THIRD PRIZE: “Baladi” by Joudie Kalla (worth $45)
“Zatoun is a non-profit volunteer organization registered in Canada to import and sell symbolic products from or about Palestine to create awareness for a just peace for Palestine-Israel. The formal name is “Palestine Peace Awareness Inc.” because the legal name of a non-profit must reflect its purpose. Zatoun is the trade name because it speaks to people through its Arabic character and direct translation to the word “olive”.
When Zatoun was first conceived as a project in 2003 the word “Palestine” was hardly mentioned or heard. The reference was limited to “Palestinian” as a mysterious, voiceless and disembodied people who hovered and never touch down on land.
Zatoun wanted to help change this impression by humanizing Palestinians and contextulizing Palestine. It did this in a dimension of culture, of feeling, of realness which is absent from the usual barrage of words and images which Palestinians feel has portray them unfairly for 70 plus years. Think of Zatoun as their voice telling their story. The olive is the ideal carrier for the message as it is the universal symbol of peace, warmth, light, divinity; and it represents the land of Palestine and its indigenous people.
Through its products and activities Zatoun helps to create a context based in ordinary everyday life to view and discuss the situation in Palestine-Israel. No longer is it an abstract geopolitical issue involving power elites and undefined national interest but something that Canadians and Americans can experience, learn and share.”
Visit Zatoun’s website to learn more about their products, work, and mission!
Terms and conditions: No purchase necessary. Due to international shipping restrictions, this offer is only open to participants located in the United States and Canada. Entries are accepted through April 29, 2021 and a winner will be notified no later than April 30, 2021. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with the requested contact information, otherwise their offer will be rescinded and alternates will be selected. PlayCo staff members are not eligible to win.
“Faragallah is a convincing lion in winter whose natural strength and confidence have been laid low by time and personal loss. Sultani carries the character’s sophistication effortlessly, allowing us to readily picture him as the lonely, frightened child from the old country. Each pitches his performance to a realistic level, such that one can forget they’re actors in performance and share their pain when the emotional floodgates burst open.” – New York Stage Review
“Performed live from the two actors’ kitchens, This Is Who I Am is a moving, meditative study of a father and son reconnecting after experiencing intense grief. The play, directed by Evren Odcikin, effectively utilizes its digital medium to contrast the distance and closeness between the characters. While the actors perform side by side, they are miles apart physically and emotionally. The only thing connecting them is a recipe for Fteer.” – Theatrely
“This Is Who I Am, with its heft and moments of beauty, helps me understand more fully the power of theater. Not because Zuabi chose to tell some incredulous story, but because he chose to tell an ordinary one. One centered on a family, full of misunderstandings, fierce love and disappointment held together with the smells and sounds of home, shared pain, a familiar dish and old memories cast in a new light. A light that points the way forward.” – WBUR
Our Restaurant Partners
Restaurants have long been a gathering place for lovers of theatre, a second home where we can trade stories and dreams with one another. While we may not be able to come together in person to share a pre-show meal or a post-show drink (or three!), we hope to recreate that sense of community with one another through supporting our partner restaurants for this production. Enjoy!
Qanoon is guided by Chef Tarek who’s on a personal journey to celebrate the culture of Palestine, his love of food, and taking care of people by serving the dishes he grew up eating at his mother’s, Rasmyee, table in NYC. Everyone who eats at Qanoon becomes a member of Tarek’s extended family. Outdoor dining, take out, and gift cards are available. Website | Instagram
Tanoreen, a longtime outpost of Palestinian cuisine in Bay Ridge, was opened by Chef Rawia in 1998, now jointly run with her daughter, Jumana. As the years have passed the menu has proudly evolved to embrace new flavors and influences to enliven and enrich. Outdoor dining, takeout, and gift cards are available. Website | Instagram
Manousheh is a homestyle bakery in NYC, serving delicious variations of flatbread. Their hope is to create an environment where those who’ve never been to Lebanon leave with the goal of visiting, and for those who’ve been, to leave feeling like they just had a real taste of Beirut. Outdoor dining, takeout, catering, and gift cards are available. Website | Instagram
The Play Company gratefully acknowledges the leadership support of the Kaplen Brothers Fund.
Operating support for The Play Company is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New York Theatre Program in partnership with the Alliance of Resident Theatre/New York.
The Play Company gratefully acknowledges the support of the following: