Palestine days 4 and 5: David’s account

Monday, October 14

A lovely show in an old palace of Arrabeh for 147 people who got very happy.  Pack up, lunch, say Good Bye to friends at the theater and we are off  to Nablus.
The wonderful Rami, a clown and acrobat himself met us and brought us to downtown Nablus, very much a crowded urban city center, to do an improvised street show. We changed in a small ambulance and then did a show on a crowded sidewalk.  Instantly we had about 300 people, mostly raucous men laughing and screaming like children.  They loved the show but they kept squeezing in closer and closer, then we would move them out to lots of pushing and shouting.  After a while the children couldn’t get in anymore and we cut the show early and rushed off to Askar Refugee camp where Rami lives, which looks like a ragged urban ghetto.  Again we did an improvised show in the middle of the narrow street and again the laughter was very loud, 210 people and not much space.  All went well except when the crowd ran away to watch a minor fist fight next door.  They came back and we continued the show.
After three shows we had the mandatory coffee with Rami’s family.  Families here are very warm, close, and they take hosting very seriously.  On to Ramallah, partly on Israeli roads partly on Palestinian roads.  The West Bank is filled with Israeli settlements connected by excellent lighted roads, barbed wire, and security.  Every settlement of 1000 people has a road sign, while Palestinian cities of 200,000 have no sign.
Off the good Israeli road we go on the bumpy narrow road to Ramallah, the government and cultural center of Palestine.  It’s the second day of the holiday Eid-Al Adha and the center streets are closed and packed with tens of thousands.  We have a lovely dinner with a view with the head of the Palestinian Circus School and then arrive at Fidaa’s house  at 1:00 AM after three shows and hours of driving.

Tuesday, Oct. 15

The next morning we watch the slaughtering of a sheep at Fidaa’s family  house, a central part of the Holiday.  All day families dropped by, small children bouncing on father’s knees, sitting, chatting, drinking mint tea, there seemed to be always 25 people around.
And then we did a wonderful show in the garden of Kufer Ni’meh village, 180 people total, lots of laughter, easy in the nice garden surroundings.  We have been doing a checkpoint clown piece where clowns try to trick a soldier to get through and people love this number.  We have almost no costume to indicate the soldier but they understand anyway.
Afterwards a big feast.  Next up Jordan Valley, No child without a smile!
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