Dora-winning actress Natasha Greenblatt went on a Birthright Israel trip in early 2009, just following Operation Cast Lead, and stayed on for a couple of months to volunteer in Nablus, in the northern West Bank. While there, the Torontonian heard about an Israeli-Palestinian woman who had brought a group of Palestinian children across the Green Line to play a concert for an audience of elderly Israelis.
Greenblatt, 28, could not get the story out of her head, and it became the inspiration for her first full-length play. Now, “The Peace Maker” is having its debut run at Toronto’s Next Stage Festival until January 13.
“It’s about a young woman named Sophie [played by Rebecca Auerbach] who goes on Birthright and volunteers at a music center in the West Bank and gets the idea to bring Palestinian kids to play for Holocaust survivors in Israel,” the playwright told The Arty Semite by phone. “She ends up making the Palestinian community angry, because they feel she is undermining their struggle against Israel.” Sophie also gets grief from Israelis. “Basically, she screws up despite having had the best intentions,” Greenblatt said.