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Canada, Montreal: “Birthmark” Play Reveals Cultural Baggage of Montreal Jewish vs Palestinian Kids

Let’s start with the aim of the Teersi Duniya Theatre group itself, which is to highlight theater focusing on social justice. Different cultures get to take the stage, whether they be Indigenous, Palestinian, Israeli, Armenian, Rwandan, Iranian, Turkish or whatever. The theatre’s goal, as mentioned by their artistic director Rahul Varma, is that we are all one people and it takes stories of everyone else to see ourselves.  Varma says, “the only way to tell stories in a new way is to get new storytellers into the room”.

So Stephen Orlov’s story Birthmark is about families. In writing this, he was asking himself why Jews who founded Israel to end their centuries of oppression were now dispossessing another people that had lived there for centuries. Michelle Soifer, the director, says we have in this play, “two young adults filled with passion and drive…  and the chutzpah to do something about it”.

Canada as a nation is made up of many communities of people who may have been displaced by war and conflicts. Living here in Montreal we have Jewish and Palestinian cross currents. Though families  may have immigrated here and now raise their families in this safe haven, the memories of their living history or those of their parents will always shape them. The children get stuck between the two solitudes: perhaps the need to avenge their families’ past or to just ride along safely here for their future.

Though this is a story of the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict, it raises the universal problem of parents or caregivers who live with a family member who thinks differently, or even perhaps might be mentally challenged or elderly, and the parent must learn to live with the pain of not being able to fix things (which they might have caused), or even change them.

Natalie Tannous gives a strong performance as a mother conflicted by secrets in the past and fears for her child ‘s future.  Howard Rosenstein is her gentler counterpart, with his own untold secrets and the consequences of not listening to a child. Stephen Spreekmester creates two very different characters, and does them well – one of an observant Rabbi and one of a tough RCMP officer.  Patrick Keeler  as Nelson, the Jewish child finding solace in religion, and Dalia Charafeddine as Karima secretly planning revenge for her parent’s death, give us two very realistic diametric opposites on both sides of this divide.

The simplicity of Sabrina Miller’s set design, using floor squares and wall hangings to identify rooms, walls and doorways was very effective.

We learn that words matter: why do we refer to the Israelis as extremists but the Palestinians as terrorists?

Location: Mai Centre, 3680 Jeanne-Mance
corner: Milton
Dates: Nov 3-18, 2018
Price: $17 – $25
Tel: 514-982-3386
www.m-a-i.qc.ca

 

US: Clinton, MD – Surratt House Museum for Christmas Past and Present

As you enter the side door of the Surratt House Museum you are walking in the path of John Wilkes Booth the night he killed President Lincoln, since he came here to retrieve a rifle, field glasses and supplies for his run from the law.Surratt House Building2017-10-18_9-42-17

Built in 1852, this was a tavern, an inn, a post office and a polling place. It was a safe house for the Confederate underground. The massive search for Booth led them here to Mary Surratt’s house, and as a result she was tried in a military court and convicted of conspiracy to assassinate the President. On July 7, 1865 Mary Surratt was the first woman to be executed by the federal government.Surratt House Lincolns 2017-10-18_9-40-59

In your visit to this famous house, a docent in 1860’s period clothing walks you through the typical middle class home.  History buffs can make reservations for the 12-hour “Escape Route” bus tour. Many of the same roads and houses used by Booth are still in existence and are visited on this excursion which is narrated by nationally-recognized authorities on the Lincoln assassination and John Wilkes Booth’s flight.  Tour Dates for 2018: Apr 14, 21, 28 and Sept 8, 15, 22.Surratt House - Escape Route 2017-10-18_9-34-58

If you’re in the Clinton area Sat, Dec 2 – Sun, Dec 10, stop by the Surratt House Museum for their special Christmas program- An Old Fashioned Holiday: Bringing Christmas Past to Christmas Present, celebrating the Christmas of yesteryear amid period decorations, special exhibits and seasonal histories. On the weekend of December 9 and 10, return to enjoy special activities for all ages, cookies, cider, and holiday discounts in the museum’s gift shop.

Location: Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735
Hours: Wed – Fri 11am – 3pm, Sat -Sun 12 – 4pm
The Surratt House Museum is closed from Dec 12th to Jan 17th.
Tel: 301-868-1121
surrattmuseum.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitprincegeorgescounty.com

US: Concord, MA – For $20, Your Dog’s Paw Prints Made into Paintings – Fundraiser for Pets in Need

Bring your dog to Pet Source in Concord or Marlboro and make him a true artist. The special event is called Paws in Bloom and featured artist of the day is your pet.Paws In Bloom - DOG

Paws In BloomThey will dip your dog’s paw in washable, pet-safe paint and imprint it on a canvas. Then  they will turn the paw prints into a flower paintings. The doggie artwork will cost only $20 and you get to take it home with you the very same day.Paws In Bloom - Painting

See how your dog’s paw print is transformed into a beautiful painting, and best of all, you have a piece of artwork to treasure forever. No reservations needed.Paws in Bloom - artist

There are 2 Dates scheduled for this special  event:

June 10, 2017: 11 am – 3 pm – Pet Source -1173 Main St, Concord, MA 01742

June 24, 2017: 11 am – 3 pm – Pet Source – 1141 Boston Post Rd W, Marlboro, MA 01752

All proceeds will go to Phinney’s Friends, a small Massachusetts nonprofit that helps low-income people keep their pets by providing financial assistance and pet care. Read more about this incredible organization at: phinneysfriends.org/about

Location: Pet Source, 1173 Main St, Concord, MA 01742 – June 10th,
Pet Source- 1141 Boston Post Rd W, Marlboro, MA 01752 – June 24th
Dates: June 10th, June 24th, 2017
Hours: 11 am – 3 pm
Tel: Main Street 978-371-7072, Boston Post Rd. 508-229-7792
phinneysfriends.org/events/
patch.com/massachusetts/concord/calendar/event/20170706/157136/paws-in-bloom

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: concordchamberofcommerce.org