‘Palestine’ play to be held at Hart Middle School Auditorium

Najla Saïd

SCOTTVILLE – “Palestine,” a play written and performed by Najla Saïd, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, in the Hart Middle School Auditorium.

In her one-woman play, Saïd provides a unique passage into one of the most volatile and historic corners of the earth.

Growing up in New York City as the daughter of a famous Palestinian intellectual father and a sophisticated Lebanese mother, it wasn’t rare for Saïd to answer the door as a young girl to world-renowned scholars or sit in on heated political discussions over dinner.

Yet, in spite of her extraordinarily cultured and colorful upbringing, Saïd admits to being a young American girl who simply wished to fit in and who often felt conflicted about her cultural background and identity.

“Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family,” is the warm and engaging memoir born out of Najla’s hugely popular one-woman show, “Palestine,” which had a nine-week sold-out run Off Broadway and earned features in the “New York Times” and the “Los Angeles Times,” among others.

Having already won the praise of Cornel West, “Looking for Palestine” is not only an enlightening testament about negotiating Arab identity in America, but also a universal coming-of-age story resonant with children of immigrants and anyone who has experienced ambivalence toward their parents or background.

Saïd may have been born a Palestinian-Lebanese-American, but in her mind she grew up first as a WASP (white Anglo-Saxon protestant), having been baptized Episcopalian attending the wealthy Upper East Side girls’ school Chapin, then later as a teenaged Jew, essentially denying her true roots, even to herself, until well into adulthood.

As she grew older, making increased visits to Palestine and Beirut, Saïd’s worldview shifted. The attacks on the World Trade Center, and some of the ways in which Americans responded, finally made it impossible for Saïd to continue to pick and choose her identity, forcing her to see herself and her passions more clearly.

“Looking for Palestine” is a candid, funny and deeply moving memoir that chronicles Saïd’s journey into adulthood and solidifies her as an important voice for second-generation Arab Americans across the country.

Saïd has performed Off-Broadway, regionally and internationally, as well as in film and television. In April 2010, Saïd completed a nine-week sold-out Off-Broadway run of her solo show, “Palestine”, which features some of the material in this book. She travels to speak and perform at schools across the country, and lives in New York City.

Saïd’s performance is part of West Shore Community College’s Humankind and Performing Arts Series.

For more information and to purchase general admission tickets, go to the college’s website at www.westshore.edu. People can also call (231) 843-5507, or stop by the box office located in Schoenherr Campus Center.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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