Art Hounds®

Art Hounds: Palestinian couple revisits Haifa in US premiere play

Two people, one with book
Mohamed Haji (Young Said/Dov) and Sayli Khadilkar (Young Safiyya) in "Returning to Haifa."
Courtesy of Bruce Silcox

South Minneapolis playwright and poet William Nour recommends “Returning to Haifa” by Pangea World Theater. This is a U.S. premiere of a play based on a novella by Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani.

The play tells of a Palestinian couple who return to Haifa after the 1967 war to find the baby they left behind in 1948. They find a Jewish family of Holocaust survivors living in their old home.

“It's my reality,” Nour says. “I came here when I was 16. Basically, because there were no opportunities for Arabs in Israel, like as second-class citizens. So it's very poignant for me and it's just — I cried when I saw it for the first time.”

 “Returning to Haifa” plays through May 6 at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

Eric Heukeshoven is the director of Worship, Music and Arts for Central Lutheran Church in Winona, Minn. He says he’s “really excited” to attend “Portraits,” the spring concert for the Winona Symphony.

The piece that he's most looking forward to is called “Peanuts Gallery.” American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich wrote it, inspired by the characters of the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz. “I grew up with ‘Peanuts,’” Heukeshoven says, “and it's for piano and orchestra and it's just delightful.”

The performance is Saturday at Wesley United Methodist Church in Winona.

Actor on a dark stage
"Othello: The Remix"
Unser Imagery

Holly Harrison is a freelance writer and a creative located in south Minneapolis, and she recently attended a performance of “Othello: The Remix” by Minneapolis Musical Theatre.

“Unlike most tributes to Shakespeare, this one kind of tosses out all of the 17th-century dialogue,” Harrison says, “and rebuilds it as a hip-hop musical. Instead of taking place among Venetian military and political figures, it follows a hop-hop crew that’s going on tour.”

Harrison adds that “you really get to know your fellow audience members a little bit by seeing which references really crack them up and which ones slip past them.” 

“Othello: The Remix” plays through May 7 at Phoenix Theater in Minneapolis.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.