Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival Archive


The festival that started it all is reborn at Mosaic Theater Company, featuring five explosive dramas and the world premiere of Motti Lerner's After the War.

Wrestling Jerusalem
Written and performed by Aaron Davidman
Directed by Michael John Garcés
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre
January 6-24, 2016

One man’s journey to comprehend the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it courses through his divided psyche and argumentative community. Originally commissioned by Theater J in 2007, Davidman’s evolving excavation into the contours of conflict now illuminates a personal story that grapples with the complexities of identity, history and social justice. Wrestling Jerusalem gives voice to a dozen characters, animating their struggles, soul searchings and defensive barriers that give way to a spiritual oneness that offers a promise of peace in the midst of bloodshed. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.

I Shall Not Hate
Based on the memoir by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Adapted by Izzeldin Abuelaish and Shay Pitovksy
Directed by Shay Pitovksy
Featuring Gassan Abbas
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Sprenger Theatre
January 23-February 14, 2016

The story of the Gaza fertility doctor (nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize) who refuses to relinquish his commitment to coexistence, even after tragedy befalls his family during Operation Cast Lead. The production, performed in Hebrew and Arabic by one of Israel's leading Palestinian actors, Gassan Abbas, brings humanity and heroism to the role of Abuelaish, in a script adapted and staged by one of our Festival's featured young artists, the Israeli director, Shay Pitovsky. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.


Performed in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.

The Promised Land
By Shachar Pinkas and Shay Pitovsky
Directed by Michael Bloom
At the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company / February 16-28, 2016
On tour at area universities / February 29-March 6, 2016

The youth ensemble of Habimah, Israel's national theater, created this documentary-infused kaleidoscope chronicling the waves of Sudanese refugees who crossed the desert to enter Israel legally and illegally, finding themselves stranded in a drama of relocation and displacement. Adapted for an American troupe and staged by the former artistic director of the Cleveland Play House, Michael Bloom (Off-Broadway’s Sight Unseen), this story personalizes a history of immigration and asks pointed questions about race and the limits of empathy in a welcoming society. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival, this production will take place in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's 100-seat Rehearsal Hall.

After the War
By Motti Lerner
Directed by Sinai Peter
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre 
March 24-April 17, 2016

This explosive world premiere from the writer and director who brought you The Admission tells the story of Joel, a world-renowned concert pianist and Israeli anti-war expatriate who returns to Tel Aviv after 18 years to perform with the Israeli Philharmonic. But as protestors agitate to cancel the performance, deep ideological differences between Joel, his estranged son Izzy, and his hot-tempered brother Freddie quickly turn the family homecoming to all-out battle. Set against the wrenching sadness and climactic beauty of Beethoven’s PathétiqueAfter the War is a crucial new play about an artist’s responsibility to his embattled country, and his family’s tough response to calls for peace in the wake of a costly war. 

Hkeelee (Talk to Me)
Written and performed by Leila Buck
Directed by Shana Gold
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Kogod Cradle
April 30-May 1, 2016

A probing portrait of a cosmopolitan Lebanese matriarch as remembered by her Lebanese-American granddaughter who attempts to piece together her beloved Teta's story. Moving between voices, faiths, times and spaces, from Beirut to Bethesda and beyond, Hkeelee invites you to engage in an interactive exploration of what it means to be(come) American: what we hold onto, what we let go and how those choices come to shape who we are. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival, this three-performance limited run plays in Arena Stage’s intimate 200-seat Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle. 

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Earlier History

The 15-year history of the Voices Festival before Mosaic.

2000: Festival Begins as Voices From A Changing Israel at Theater J


Via Dolorosa by David Hare; directed by Nick Olcott

Workshop Readings:
Night Blooming Jasmine by Israela Margalit
Miklat by Joshua Ford
In the Land of Israel by Amos Oz adapted by Joshua Ford
The Murder of Isaac by Motti Lerner


Birth of the Peace Café

Festival 2002 

Miklat world premiere by Joshua Ford; directed by Nick Olcott (Helen Hayes Award Nomination/Outstanding New Play) 

Via Dolorosa by David Hare (remount) 

Festival 2003 

Traveling Jewish Theatre’s God’s Donkey: A Play on Moses, directed by Corey Fisher


From Tel-Aviv to Ramallah: A Beat-Box Journey by Rachel Haverlock; directed by Aaron Davidman (Helen Hayes Award Nomination/Outstanding New Play) 

Festival 2004 

Passing the Love of Women world premiere by Motti Lerner & Israel Zamir, adapted from IB Singer (in conjunction with Habimah Theater in Israel)

Festival 2005 

Workshop Readings:
Ali Salem Drives to Israel by Ari Roth, based on Ali Salem’s “An Egyptian Meets His Neighbors”

2007: Festival Becomes Voices From A Changing Middle East


Pangs of the Messiah English Language world premiere by Motti Lerner; directed by Sinai Peter


2007 Remount Productions in Conjunction with Capital Fringe Festival:
Via Dolorosa by David Hare
From Tel-Aviv to Remallah: A Beat Box Journey by Rachel Havrelock


Workshop Productions:
Ariel Sharon Hovers Between Life and Death and Dreams of Theodor Herzel by David Zellnik
Chasing Justice / Seeking Truth or It’s Just Not That Safe Anymore written and performed by Aaron Davidman, comissioned by Theater J (will become Wrestling Jerusalem)
I-Site and In the Crossing, written and performed by Leila Buck


Workshop Readings:
NOOR by Akbar Ahmed
The Arab-Israeli Cookbook by Robin Soans, a Peace Café play reading with cooking

Festival 2009 

Dai (Enough) written and performed by Iris Bahr  
The Accident by Hillel Mitelpunkt; directed by Sinai Peter
Benedictus an Iran-Israel-US collaboration by Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Motti Lerner, Roberta Levitow, Daniel Michaelson and Torange Yeghiazarian 


Workshop Readings:
Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza by Caryl Churchill; co-presented with Forum Theatre
From Waziristan to Washington: A Muslim at the Crossroads by Akbar Ahmed 

Festival 2010: “Voice of the Woman”

Mikveh by Hadar Galron; directed by Shirley Serotsky 


Workshop Readings
Headscarf and the Angry Bitch by Zehra Fazal
Apples from the Dessert & the Banality of Love by Savyon Liebrecht at the Embassy of Israel
Games in the Backyard by Edna Mazya
Homesick by Dafna Rubinstein & James Turpin
Out of Silence readings From the Afghan Women’s Writing Project  
Urge for Going by Mona Mansour 

Festival 2011 

Cameri Theatre’s Return to Haifa, adapted by Boaz Gaon from Ghassan Kanafani; directed by Sinai Peter (Helen Hayes Award Nomination/Outstanding Lead Actress) 

Workshop Readings:
Argentina by Boaz Gaon  
A Railway to Damascus by Hillel Mitelpunkt
The Promise by Ben Brown
To Pay the Price by Peter-Adrian Cohen
I’m Speaking to You Chinese by Savyon Liebrecht
Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman
Hour of Feeling and Urge for Going by Mona Mansour
Via Dolorosa by David Hare (remount)
The Admission by Motti Lerner

Festival 2012 

Workshop Presentations
Boged (Traitor) by Boaz Gaon & Nir Erez, from Ibsen’s An Enemy Of The People
The Big Blue Tent and Jewish Dissent by Robbie Gringras
In Spitting Distance by Taher Najib
Best Friends by Anat Gov
Such a Beautiful Voices is Sayeda’s and Karima’s City by Yussef El Guindi from Salwa Bakr’s The Wiles of Women

Festival 2013: “Dialogues In The Desert”

Apples from the Desert by Savyon Liebrecht; directed by Johanna Gruenhut
Boged (Traitor): An Enemy of the People by Boaz Gaon & Nir Erez, from Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People; directed by Joseph Megel


Workshop Readings:
Women Soldiers Speak: Testimonies from IDF Soldiers and Inductees, adapted and directed by Jessica Lefkow, in conjunction with Breaking the Silence
The Trial the Refuseniks by Igal Ezraty
Ulysses on Bottles by Gilad Evron 

Festival 2014: “Narratives of Nation Building”

The Admission by Motti Lerner; directed by Sinai Peter (Helen Hayes Award Nomination/Outstanding New Play) 
Golda’s Balcony by William Gibson  (Helen Hayes Award: Outstanding Lead Actress) 


Workshop Readings:
1948 adapted by Noya Lancet from the memoir by Yoram Kaniuk
Hand in Hand Together by A.B. Yehoshua

2015: Festival Moves to Mosaic Theater Company
at the Atlas Performing Arts Center

Workshop Readings: 
After the War by Motti Lerner at the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival
Hkeelee (Talk to Me) written and performed by Leila Buck, presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival

Festival 2015-16: "The War Comes Home"

Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman

I Shall Not Hate adapted by Izzeldin Abuelaish and Shay Pitovksy, from the memoir by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Eretz Chadasha (Promised Land) by Shachar Pinkas and Shay Pitovsky at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
After the War by Motti Lerner
Hkeelee (Talk to Me) written and performed by Leila Buck at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for  American Theater, Kogod Cradle

Festival 2017 

Ulysses on Bottles by Gilad Evron, translated by Evan Fallenberg; directed by Serge Seiden

The Return by Hanna Eady & Edward Mast | Directed by John Vreeke


Workshop Reading:

Oh, God by Anat Gov, translated by Anthony Berris, adapted by Guy Ben-Aharon; featuring Rick Foucheux as God


Atlas Performing Arts Center

1333 H Street NE

Washington, DC 20002


202-399-7993 ext 2


Monday-Friday, 11 AM to 2 PM; 3 PM to 6 PM

In person: 2 hours prior to show on show days

Box office does NOT take calls two hours prior to a show's curtain, but will return all voice messages left during that time.

Will Call opens one hour prior to curtain.

Patrons who arrive late will be seated at the discretion of management.