2008 I-Fest

William El-Gardi
United Kingdom

Supported by:


The United Congress

Oct 28 and 31 - 7pm
Nov 1, 6-8 - 7pm
Nov 2 and 9 - 3pm
Ticket $ 15 (or $20 for 2nd evening presentation)
773-278-1500 or info@chopintheatre.com




Nominated 2008 Amnesty International FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Award

YASSER is an uncompromising, yet playful monologue by award-winning writer Abdelkader Benali. Yasser Mansour is a young, idealistic and fervent Palestinian actor, living and working in Europe. As he prepares in his dressing room to go on stage to play Shylock, the archetypal Jew in The Merchant of Venice, he finds himself torn between his Palestinian identity and the role he is about to play. He would really rather play Arafat. And Yitzhak Rabin, as he used to do as a young boy in Palestine. What's more, he has just been robbed of all his
props necessary to perform his role, and dumped by his fellow actress and girlfriend Lucy, tired of his political soliloquies. It's an hour before curtain up, the pressure mounts, but where is his nose? As he maneuvers through conflicts, roles and identities, Yasser discovers that the Arab understands Shylock better than anyone else: can anyone really cut a pound of flesh without spilling blood?

William el-Gardi (Yasser Mansour) was born in Egypt in 1978 in an Egyptian-Sudanese-Turkish family and grew up in Egypt, the Sudan and Switzerland before settling in the United Kingdom, where he trained at Mountview Academy in London. His most recent theatre credits include Touch by Rikki Beadle-Blair at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, as well as the Theatre Café Symposium at the Unicorn Theatre in London with Company of Angles. He made his Edinburgh debut in 2007 in The Container by Claire Bailey which won a Fringe First and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award.

Teunkie van der Sluijs (director) was born in the Netherlands in 1981 and is a graduate of the three year directing programme at Rose Bruford College in London. He holds a BA and MA in Drama from the University of Amsterdam. He has taught drama at the University of Amsterdam and City University London, and is currently working as coordinator of the international new writing programme at Rose ruford College. He has taught theatre workshops in the Netherlands, the UK, Canada and Tunisia. Van der Sluijs aims to (re)discover and re-imagine the great texts of European writers, both classic and contemporary. He has a keen interest in the dark comedic undertones of conflict - both personal and political.

Abdelkader Benali (author) was born in Morocco in 1975 and has lived in the Netherlands since 1979. He is one of the best-known contemporary writers in the Netherlands. For his debut novel Wedding by the Sea he won the prestigious Geertjan Lubberhuizenprijs, and the Prix de Meilleur Premier Roman Étranger in France (“Vivid, mythic and heartfelt” – Financial Times; “Full of verve and hilarity” – Le Soir). He was awarded the 2003 Libris Literature Award in the Netherlands. Critically acclaimed because of his lucid and insightful
treatment of migrants’ issues, Benali has been widely translated, and some of this work has been published in English. He reported from Beirut under siege in the 2006 Lebanese war. With Yasser, Benali won the H.G. van der Vies Award for best new play in the Netherlands in 2002; in the same year, the play was selected for the Nederlands-Vlaams Theaterfestival, the showcase festival of the 10 best dramatic works of the Low Countries.

Esteban Nuñez (Light Design, Technical Assistant) was born in 1975 in the Basque Country, an autonomous region in Northern Spain. He studied physical and technical theatre in France and Ireland and worked in puppet theatre, clowning and visual theatre all over Europe. He subsequently completed a BA in lighting design at Rose Bruford College London, and set up Fishylight Productions, a UK-based company in lighting design and visual imagery for performance.

Premiere at Edinburgh Fringe Supported by:

The LIRA Fund, Netherlands

The Martin Bowley Charitable Trust

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