Cover art by Bruce McLeod

Twenty One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East

Abdelfattah Abusrour, Lisa Schlesinger, and Naomi Wallace
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When Fawaz, a young Palestinian-American, travels to Israel and the Occupied West Bank for the wedding of his estranged brother, he finds only Hala, his fiery fiancée, abandoned at the altar. Amidst the rumors and suspicions surrounding his brother’s mysterious disappearance, Fawaz sets out on a dangerous quest through the militarized landscape of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories to find his brother at whatever cost. Boldly political and humorously provocative, TWENTY ONE POSITIONS is an odyssey for our time.

Production Info

Cast: 10 total (4 female, 6 male, 1 female child, flexible casting)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 110 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Abusrour, Schlesinger, and Wallace have written a brilliant, unsettling, searing, tragicomedy about the meaning and consequences of violent dispossession and military occupation on generations of human beings.” —Robin D G Kelly from his introduction to the play

“One of the most compelling aspects of TWENTY ONE POSITIONS, set in the present day, is its simultaneous call to the ancient: a Greek chorus of Israeli soldiers (‘We’ve got bang, bang in our front yards and bang, bang in our sleep’), an eleven-year-old girl with the wisdom of Chiron, a dreamer with the soaring wings of Icarus. The breathtaking playwriting talents of Palestinian Abdelfattah Abusrour and American Lisa Schlesinger were brought together by Obie and MacArthur winner Naomi Wallace to collaborate on a piece that strikingly demonstrates the absurd of the real. Its dazzling irony at once delicious and devastating, this play will haunt in the way truth should: putting bang, bang in our sleep.” —Kia Corthron

“TWENTY ONE POSITIONS brilliantly explores the issues of the Wall separating Israelis and Palestinians and opens a dialogue of immense political and religious importance through a theatrical lens. It imagines a reality in which both sides learn to see one another. It is indeed a ‘cartographic dream of the Middle East.'” —Matthew Maguire

About the Author


  • Abdelfattah Abusrour

    Abdelfattah Abusrour is from Bethlehem-Palestine. He co-wrote SALUT C'EST NOUS and NOURRIR DE FAIM in France. He wrote and directed WAITING FOR THE RAIN, TENT, THE ORPHAN, WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE CAMP, BLAME THE WOLF, HANDALA. His short play FAR AWAY FROM A VILLAGE CLOSE BY won first prize in the Deir Yassin Remembered Festival-London in 2006. He performed in and directed many plays. In 2014, he directed THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK for Burning Coal Theatre in NC, USA, and Samah Sabawi's play TALES OF A CITY BY THE SEA for Alrowwad Theatre. Abusrour has a PhD in Biological and Medical Engineering, is a recipient of the first Ashoka Fellowship in Palestine, and Synergos Social Innovator Award. He is Founder and Director of Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society and elected President of Palestinian Theatre League from 2009–2013.

  • Lisa Schlesinger

    Lisa Schlesinger is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Playwrights Residency Award, winner of the BBC International Playwriting Competition and a nominee for a USA Artist Fellowship. Her plays include IN THE WAKE OF THE GRAYBOW RIOTS, CELESTIAL BODIES, WAL-MARTYRS, SAME EGG, MANNY AND CHICKEN, ROCK ENDS AHEAD, and THE BONES OF DANNY WINSTON. She is currently writing a libretto, Harmonicus Mundi, the second work in the Celestial Bodies Trilogy. Lisa's work has been published in The New York Times, American Theater and Performing Arts Journal.

  • Naomi Wallace

    Naomi Wallace is a playwright from Kentucky. Her plays — which have been produced in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East — include IN THE HEART OF AMERICA, SLAUGHTER CITY, ONE FLEA SPARE, THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK, THINGS OF DRY HOURS, THE FEVER CHART: THREE VISION OF THE MIDDLE EAST, AND I AND SILENCE, THE HARD WEATHER BOATING PARTY, THE LIQUID PLAIN. Her stage adaptation of William Wharton's novel Birdy was produced on the West End in London. In 2009, ONE FLEA SPARE was incorporated in the permanent repertoire of the French National Theater, the Comédie- Francaise. Only two American playwrights have been added to La Comédie's repertoire in 300 years. Films: Lawn Dogs, The War Boys, Flying Blind (co-written with Bruce McLeod). Awards: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (twice), Joseph Kesselring Prize, Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, Obie Award, and the 2012 Horton Foote Award for most promising new American play. She is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts development grant. In 2013, Wallace received the inaugural Windham Campbell prize for drama and in 2015, an Arts and Letters Award in Literature.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/15/2015
Pages 105
ISBN 9780881456295

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Twenty One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC