For Ibrahim Miari, “In Between” not only is a performance, it’s his chance to share a part of his life with audience members.
Miari wrote and starred in the one-man show about his experiences as both a Palestinian and an Israeli on Tuesday evening at the Auditorium Arena Theatre.
The play is semi-autobiographical and focuses on Miari’s struggle to find someone to marry him to his Jewish-American wife.
“You would think it would be easy, but it wasn’t,” Miari said.
In the play, Miari and his wife go to several different rabbis and Muslim shaikhs who agree to marry them on the condition they raise their children in accordance to their respective religions.
Miari and his wife eventually were married by a friend to escape the obligations.
In reality, Miari said he raises his children the same way he was raised — with tolerance.
“I was raised to believe we are all one,” Miari said.
“My children will know they have a Jewish background and a Palestinian background.”
The event was coordinated by the Arabic Language Instruction Flagship Program, the Department of Theatre and other Jewish, Muslim and Arabic programs.
Attendees not only learned about other religions but about similarities between Judaism and Islam, said Wafa Hassan, outreach coordinator of the Arabic Language Instruction Flagship Program.
“Many people try to always separate the Jewish from the Muslim experience,” Hassan said.
“(But) it’s important for all Muslim, Jewish or American students to see how in reality, (those religions) are really close — closer than we think.”
Education sophomore Rebecca Abrin was one of about 30 students and community members who attended the event.
Last year, Abrin traveled to Israel. She said after traveling to Israel she is more interested in learning about the conflicts in the Middle East.
“I feel like once you go to Israel you become more of a part of the problem,” Abrin said.
“Once you go to Israel you relate to a side and really stand by it.”
Abrin said the concept of “In Between” is unique because it shows both sides of the conflict.
“I think because it’s a conflict, to be able to see both sides by one person is very interesting,” Abrin said.
After the show, audience members spoke with each other and Miari about their response to the play.
Conversations play an important role in creating understanding between cultures, Miari said.
“I believe that my story can bring a new perspective and can start a dialogue, at least,” Miari said.
“It’s only when we talk to one another and listen that we can move past the stereotypes and prejudices.”