If only our bodies were bulletproof
If only our boats were made of steel
If only our dreams were real.

Gaza, 2008.

A Palestinian journalist writes poetry on the beach.
A doctor must decide to stay or leave.

Then come the missiles and the phosphorus showers.

This is a furious and tender exploration of the fragility of freedom. The national collides with the personal as activism and reporting take to the stage. Tales of a City by the Sea uses poetry, tenderness and humour to explore the love between those who have choices, and those who do not. Language fails us when it comes to displacement and grief; yet Samah Sabawi’s language cracks grief open and remains present, like the sea.

Tales of a City by the Sea was staged twice in 2014: at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne and at the Aida refugee camp in Palestine. It won Drama Victoria Awards for Best Production and Best Publication in 2016.

  • 0
  • 13 total
  • 7 female identifying, 6 male identifying
  • culturally and linguistically diverse
  • Currency Press


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Female | 20s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 28

EXTRACT: I have a confession to make I stand between shame and relief I breathe … The missiles missed this time Truth is they didn’t really miss Someone’s house is destroyed But not the house I know so well Someone’s family is grieving But not the one whose name I carry I linger … I linger between shame and relief I breathe … I … breathe … I tell myself This flesh, torn and scattered Is not flesh I have ever embraced I soothe myself Nor are these small lifeless hands The ones with a crayon I’ve traced

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