By Marcus Youssef
Foreword by Dennis Foon
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 ... Read more
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.
Marcus Youssef is one of Canada’s best-known contemporary playwrights. His plays have been produced in dozens of theatres in fifteen countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, from Seattle to New York to Reykjavik, London, Hong Kong, and Berlin. He is the recipient of Canada’s largest cultural prize, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, as well as the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, the Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Vancouver Critics’ Innovation Award (three times), and the Canada Council Staunch Lynton Award for Artistic Achievement. Over the years Marcus has also written for a half-dozen shows on CBC Radio and Television and a wide variety of Canadian print and web-based publications, with bylines in the Georgia Straight, Vancouver Magazine, This Magazine, Rice Paper, the Tyee, Vanopolis, and Canadian Theatre Review, among others. Marcus is artistic director of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre and co-founder of the East Vancouver–based, artist-run production studio PL1422. He was the inaugural chair of the City of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council, a Canadian Fellow to the International Society for Performing Arts, and co-chair of the Vancouver political party The Coalition of Progressive Electors. He is currently an editorial advisor to Canadian Theatre Review and a consulting advisor for the National Arts Centre English Theatre. He teaches regularly at the National Theatre School of Canada, Studio 58 Langara College, and the University of British Columbia. See: marcusyoussef.com / neworldtheatre.com / @marcusyoussef.
Dennis Foon was the co-founder of Vancouver’s Green Thumb Theatre and served as Artistic Director for twelve years, where he began writing a body of groundbreaking plays for which he has received the British Theatre Award, two Chalmers Awards, and the Jesse Richardson Career Achievement Award. He has received a Gemini Award, two Writers Guild of Canada Awards, and four Leo Awards for his screenplays, which include Little Criminals, White Lies, Torso, Shine of Rainbows, and On The Farm. His latest feature film, Indian Horse—adapted from the novel by Richard Wagamese—premiered at TIFF in 2017.
"Not afraid to deal with difficult subject matter such as discrimination, domestic abuse, sexuality, and the danger of online sharing on social media. " – Charlebois Post Review
“Smartly probes the lives of high schoolers struggling with peer expectations and identity problems. As they attempt to navigate the minefield that is the high school hallway, they are warned repeatedly that actions have consequences. ”
– Winnipeg Free Press