OH MY SWEET LAND
Written & Directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi
Performed by Nadine Malouf
“A forceful and absorbing play….
Ms. Malouf is a rigorous and impassioned actress with liquid eyes and a way of moving from one character to the next with subtle delineation. You would be happy to tag along with her on far less eventful journeys.”— The New York Times
“A one-woman, one-setting wrecking-ball of narrative force…
Often overlooked in these times of strife, both domestic and abroad, is the power of storytelling. We watch our news and follow our feeds and converse with like-minded people to agree with each other and dismiss those who don’t share our views. Storytelling, for the most part, has become an escape from this stressful reality. Fantastic shows we follow weekly or watch in spurts. Stories rooted in real life are marginalized as a result, stifling our empathy as well as our impetus to act. A jolt from such complacency can be jarring. And welcome.” — HuffPost
They call it a civil war, but there is nothing civil in this. Nothing civil at all.
Step into the kitchen. The onions are cooking on the stove and meat is on the cutting board waiting to be chopped. Our host is preparing kubah, a traditional Syrian dish. While she cooks, she tells us the story of meeting Ashraf, a Syrian exile, and falling in love with him as he desperately tries to help those he was forced to leave behind. When he vanishes, she impulsively trails him to her homeland—one she has never known, now consumed by war. As the meal comes together and then falls apart, we learn the stories of brutality, grace, and humanity of the Syrian refugees she meets along the way.
In its U.S premiere, writer and director AMIR NIZAR ZUABI and PLAYCO presented OH MY SWEET LAND for the first time in home kitchens and community spaces creating a theatrical experience that was close, personal and lifted what’s happening in Syria out of the news cycle and into a simple human interaction that allowed us to hear and feel in a different way.
Oh My Sweet Land was created by Amir and the actress Corinne Jaber from their experiences traveling amongst Syrian refugee camps in Amman, Jordan. In his forward to the published script, Amir writes:
We met people in the harshest moments of their life, yet still they were generous, full of grace, hope and even humour. This piece is inspired by their stories but more than anything it is inspired by their spirit – that elastic rubber-like ability humans have to adapt and to weather the storm.
Oh My Sweet Land had its world premiere in Lausanne, Switzerland and has been seen in London at The Young Vic, Dublin at the Abbey Theater, in Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, and Toronto. The script is published by Bloomsbury.
Running time: approximately 65 minutes without intermission
Photo by: Pavel Antonov
Meet the Writer/Director
Amir Nizar Zuabi is an award-winning theater writer & director, the artistic director of ShiberHur theater company in Haifa, Israel, an associate director of Young Vic London, and an associate partner of the United Theaters Europe. Writing and directing credits include I am Yusuf and This is my Brother, In the Penal Colony, Alive From Palestine, Oh My Sweet Land,The Beloved, (co-produced by ShiberHur/Young Vic), Three Days of Mourning, West of Us the Sea, Dry Mud, Against A Hard Surface (ShiberHur). Directing credits include: Samson and Delilah (Flanders Opera, Antwerp) Jidarriya by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (Edinburgh International Festival, Bouffes du Nord, and world tour), Mid Spring Musical The Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company as part of World Shakespeare Festival). Currently Zuabi is writing a play for the National Theatre, London.
Photo: Ute Langkafel
Meet the Performer
Nadine Malouf most recently played the lead role of Laila, in the world premiere adaptation of Khalid Hosseini’s best selling novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, at American Conservatory Theatre, that then went on to Theatre Calgary, in Canada. She also played the title role in the world premiere of Salomé, written and directed by Yaël Farber, at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC [winner of seven Helen Hayes Awards in 2016]. Off-Broadway, Malouf most recently appeared in the world premiere of Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page73), This is How it Ends (59E59), The School for Scandal (Redbull Theatre), The Who & The What (LCT3), and Exile (Cherry Lane). Other theatre includes Scorched (Syracuse Stage) and Macbeth (GBS Theatre, RADA).
Malouf has developed new work at Sundance Theatre Lab, The Public, Lincoln Center, New York Theatre Workshop, and most recently with Simon McBurney. TV credits include Mysteries of Laura and Odd Mom Out. In film, Malouf recently played the lead role in the short film Resolutions, which premiered this year at the LA Indie Film Festival; other films include May in the Summer, Shame, and Static Shock. Malouf received her training at Syracuse University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Click on the logo to go to each organization’s home page
In 40 countries and 29 U.S. offices, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict and disaster. The IRC in New York and New Jersey’s Regional Offices serve a diverse client population of over 3,000 people each year to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.
HHR / Hearts and Homes for Refugees is a growing network of volunteers from a wide range of faith and civic groups based in Westchester. Their mission is to support those that welcome, protect and advocate for refugees in our communities. Join them to change the outcome for refugees, one family at a time.