Drama: Ya Baladi :Artas Folklore Center, Al Ain Drama Troupe,
Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 13.04.2007:
Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival
Friday, April 13, 2007 16:30
El Ain Drama Troupe was established in 2006. Its name, El Ain, meaning “the spring” conjures the many springs in Artas which make it green and fertile, particularly the Artas Spring in the village. The troupe’s mission is to portray Palestinian heritage, the problems facing villagers, as well as popular stories. The troupe, which is made up of boys and girls, made their debut performance at the Twelfth Annual Lettuce Festival in 2006, where their performance of ” The Shepherd’s Sticks” was enthusiastically received. For International Women’s Day, they performed “The Torment of Women.”
The title of the play, “Ya Baladi” is a play on word. “Baladi” means “my country” and is also used to refer to traditionally grown vegetables, such as the Romaine Lettuce for which Artas is famous. The title thus makes a link between farming and patriotism.
The events occur in the 1960’s. Abu Mahmoud is a famous lettuce farmer, and like most other Artas farmers who plant this nutritious crop, it is the chief source of income for him and his family. He and his children wake up at the dawn prayers, go to pick lettuce from the valley, then head out to sell it at the Bethlehem Market and Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. But Abu Mahmoud is surprised to find a military checkpoint and a wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem preventing them from reaching Jerusalem, the starting point of the suffering of the villagers and the events of the play.