Performing Iraqi-Jewish History on the Israeli Stage

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The analysis of the following two Israeli plays is the focus of this article: Ghosts in the Cellar (Haifa Theatre, 1983) by Sami Michael, and The Father's Daughters (Hashahar Theatre, 2015) by Gilit Itzhaki. These plays deal with the Farhud - a pogrom which took place in Iraq in 1941, in which two hundred Iraqi Jews were massacred by an Iraqi nationalist mob. The Farhud has become a traumatic event in the memory of this Jewish community. Using the concept of 'performing history' as advanced by Freddie Rokem, I observe how these plays, as theatre of a marginalized group, engage in the production of memory and history as well as in the processing of grief. These plays present the Farhud and correspond with the Zionist narrative in two respects: (1) they present the traumatic historical event of these Middle Eastern Jews in the light of its disappearance in Zionist history, and (2) their performance includes Arab cultural and language elements of Iraqi-Jewish identity, and thus implicitly points out the complex situation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-261
Number of pages14
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

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Publisher Copyright:
© InternationalFederation for Theatre Research 2019A.


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