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Plays written for kids!
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Like many outgoing young women, Fatima feels rebellious against parents she sees as strict. It just so happens that she is Egyptian-born and wears a hijab. When anti-Muslim graffiti appears on the walls of her school, Fatima transfers to a new school. The guidance counsellor there, Mr. E., does his best to help Fatima fit in, but despite his advice she starts an unlikely friendship with Jorah, who has a reputation for anger issues. Maybe, just maybe, Fatima and Jorah start to, like, like each other …
As their mutual attraction grows, the lines Fatima and Jorah cross as they grow closer become the subject of an intense exploration of boundaries – personal boundaries, cultural boundaries, and inherited religious and political boundaries. Fatima and Jorah discover that appearances matter; they’ve been exposed for their whole lives to images that begin to colour their relationship: images of the Middle East, the working class, and how teenage boys and teenage girls behave. Put all these reactive factors together in the social laboratory that is a high school and observe: is there a solution for Fatima and Jorah?
High school, like no other social space, throws together people of all histories and backgrounds, and young people must decide what they believe in and how far they are willing to go to defend their beliefs. Inside a veritable pressure cooker, they negotiate cross-cultural respect and mutual understanding. Jabber does its part to challenge appearances – and the judgments people make based on those appearances.
Nine-year-old Phineas interprets the world through his encyclopedic knowledge of animals, but some human behaviour is just too puzzling. Take for example his mom, who insists he learn to fall asleep on his own, even though all young mammals sleep with their mothers; or his dad, who recently picked up and left the family, a behaviour quite unlike other mate-for-life animals. And then there’s the constant news from his favourite TV station, the Green Channel, about how humans are ruining the environment, a fact Phin is growing increasingly anxious about. So when his fourth-grade class gets a White’s tree frog as a pet, all of Phin’s anxieties come to a boil.
When young orphans Mala and Chun Chun encounter brothers Prakash and Ojha on the busy streets of Kolkata, they are immediately at odds. The brothers come from a lower-middle-class family and spend their time flying kites instead of attending class, while Mala and Chun Chun can only dream of going to school, a goal Aunty promises will be fulfilled if they beg for money from passersby. After a petty fruit-stall heist lands Ojha in Aunty’s cunning hands, the brothers are blackmailed into begging alongside Mala and Chun Chun, forcing the children to interact. Though they find each other nuisances at first, the kids soon realize their strength in numbers as Aunty’s scheming is slowly revealed.
Lily has always felt in-between. She looks Vietnamese but thinks of herself as white – her parents adopted her from an orphanage in Vietnam. Her parents both have good jobs, but her best friend Brit is always super broke. When Karim – a guy she’s liked for a long time – shows interest in her for the first time, Brit starts to hang out with some grade-twelves who wear T-shirts saying “white pride.” After Karim confronts Brit about her racism, a series of fear-induced misunderstandings lead to a lockdown, and Lily finds herself truly in-between, forced to make seemingly impossible choices about whose side she’s on, and which friend she’s going to believe. Set in a school facing the real-life challenges of immigration, income inequality, and fears of violence, The In-Between is a realistic, complex, and believable exploration of the conflicts students navigate in contemporary schools. Like Youssef’s international hit Jabber, seen by hundreds of thousands of young people across North America and Europe and winner of Berlin’s Ikarus Prize, The In-Between brings humour, sensitivity, and a deftly authentic ear to the adult-sized questions all young people must begin to confront as they enter their later teens.