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'Dream of Home حلم وطن' Marks Cleveland Arabic Theatre Debut

"Dream of Home حلم وطن" [courtesy: Cleveland Public Theatre]

The word for theater in Arabic is masrah.

Tonight is the debut of Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi, which translates to Cleveland Arabic Theatre.

Its creation is part of a Cleveland Public Theatre initiative to engage with local ethnic communities through art.

Similar to the local troupe for Cleveland's Latino population,  Teatro Público de Cleveland, Masrah Cleveland is staged by, for and with the local Arabic-speaking community. 

"Dream of Home حلم وطن" is the company's first workshop production created by the ensemble with Cleveland Public Theatre's Raymond Bobgan and Faye Hargate.

Masrah Cleveland member Omar Kurdi is excited for local audiences to see the show at CPT, which he hopes breaks down stereotypes.

"We live in a time where we need these stories to be told to change how everybody is looking at Arabic-speaking communities," Kurdi said.

Raymond Bobgan and Omar Kurdi

CPT executive artistic director Raymond Bobgan says that during the creation of "Dream of Home حلم وطن" one central theme emerged.

"This notion of home as a safe place," Bobgan said. "We know that there's been a lot of rhetoric going on in the community that has made certain groups feel unsafe."

Kurdi believes the stories told onstage will leave audiences with a better understanding of Arabic-speaking people.

"We're regular people. We vote in elections, we pay our taxes, we go to work. We have issues that happen in our own homes like everybody else," Kurdi said.

Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi debuts with "Dream of Home حلم وطن" at Cleveland Public Theatre Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m.

Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.