In 1948, Palestinian couple Said and Safiyya fled their home during the Nakba. Now, in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, the borders are open for the first time in twenty years, and the couple dare to return back to their home in Haifa. They expect to find someone else living in their former home, yet nothing prepares them for what they find in its place.
The production coincides with the 70th anniversaries of both the Nakba – the mass dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948 – and the foundation of the State of Israel. Originally commissioned by New York’s Public Theater, Returning to Haifa was cancelled after political pressure. It will now receive its world premiere at London’s Finborough Theatre on 27 February, where it will run until 24 March.
Here American playwright Naomi Wallace and Beirut-born writer Ismail Khalidi talk about adapting the novel for the stage.