Jabber

By (author): 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 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.

AUTHOR

Marcus Youssef

Marcus Youssef is based on unceded Coast Salish Territory, a.k.a. Vancouver, Canada. His fifteen or so plays have been produced in multiple languages in scores of theatres in twenty countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, from Seattle to New York to Reykjavik, London, Venice, Hong Kong, Vienna, Athens, Frankfurt, and Berlin. In 2017, Marcus received Canada’s most prestigious theatre award, the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, for his body of work as a playwright. He is also the recipient of Berlin’s Ikarus Theatre Prize, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Vancouver Critics’ Innovation Award (three times), and the Canada Council Staunch-Lynton Award. Marcus co-founded the East Vancouver artist-run production hub Progress Lab 1422 and was the inaugural chair of the City of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council. Talon has published his Adrift, Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, Ali and Ali, Jabber, King Arthur’s Night and Peter Panties, and Winners and Losers. He is currently International Artistic Associate at Farnham Maltings in the UK, Playwright in Residence at Tarragon Theatre, and Artistic Associate at Neworld Theatre in Vancouver. Marcus also sits on SCALE, a national arts roundtable formed in partnership with the Climate Emergency Unit of the David Suzuki Foundation, inspired by Seth Klein’s remarkable book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency.

AUTHOR

Dennis Foon

Dennis Foon was co-founder of Vancouver’s acclaimed Green Thumb Theatre and served as artistic director for twelve years. As a playwright, his body of plays continues to be produced internationally in numerous languages and he has received the British Theatre Award, two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards, the Jesse Richardson Career Achievement Award, and the International Arts for Young Audiences Award. In 2007 he was made a lifetime member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada for his “outstanding contribution to Canadian Playwriting and Theatre.” He’s won a Gemini, two WGC Awards, three Leos, and a Robert W. Wagner Award for his screenplays, which include Little Criminals, White Lies, Torso, and Terry. He is also the co-writer of Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity, and A Shine of Rainbows, which won a Leo and received a Genie Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He wrote the screenplay for the feature Life Above All, Prix Fran?ois Chalais winner at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, 2011 Academy Award Shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film, and a Leo winner for Best Screenplay. His novel Skud (Groundwood Books, 2003) received a BC Book Prize, and his sci-fi/fantasy trilogy, The Longlight Legacy, has been published in five languages.

Reviews

“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


“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


Awards

  • Best New Text, Montreal English Theatre Awards 2013, Winner
  • One of the top 30 Plays Stageworthy 2013, Winner
  • IKARUS Prize 2019, Winner
  • Excerpts & Samples ×

    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.

    Reader Reviews

    Details

    Dimensions:

    80 Pages
    8.5in * 216mm * 5.5in * 140mm * 0.25in6mm
    138gr
    4.875oz

    Published:

    October 13, 2015

    City of Publication:

    Vancouver

    Country of Publication:

    CA

    Publisher:

    Talonbooks

    ISBN:

    9780889229501

    9780889229518 – EPUB

    9780889229334 – EPUB

    9780889227835 – EPUB

    9781772014310 – EPUB

    Book Subjects:

    DRAMA / Canadian

    Featured In:

    Kids’ Drama

    Language:

    eng

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