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About me:Hi there
In june of 2004 I traveled to Palestine and Israel. I was there for just under a month, and in that time, I saw the occupation first hand. I walked for miles all over the region and wrote these letters home, to share with people and hopefully they will give some sense of what it was like to walk around this amazing place. In the short time I was there, I witnessed, one assassination, numerous protests, and even met the late Yasser Arafat. I followed the path of the wall for miles through the West Bank on foot, and visited most of the major towns in Palestine. Sadly I could not get into Gaza. I have some amazing new friends, both Israeli and Palestinian and not a day goes by that I do not think back on my time there, with both fondness and sadness. Please feel free to write to me and let me know what you think. I have posted my letters home as blogs which are all dated. Thanks
Also the letters are now being turned into a play: here's the synopsis:
Everyday, Somewhere Here: Letters from Palestine and Israel
Everyday, Somewhere Here is based on the experiences of Benji Rogers, a young British American who spent a month in Palestine and Israel in the summer of 2004. The piece chronicles his journey throughout the towns and refugee camps of Palestine, his conversations with ordinary people on both sides of the Green Line, and distills the tragedy of this epic conflict into a personal testament on behalf of those who are unable to speak to the world for themselves.
With Benji as our guide, we meet a variety of people caught up in the insanity—among them a young Israeli woman defying the law to cross into Palestine and protest the annexation of land, a café owner in Bethlehem whose livelihood is slowly being choked off by the encroaching Wall, a group of internationals who are there to help in whatever way they can—all yearning for peace and equitable answers but powerless to stop the madness. We also have lunch with Arafat, witness an official assassination of a suspected Jihadist, and take a tour of a refugee camp that has been in existence for more than 50 years. This is the story you won’t see on CNN.
This play is written directly from Benji’s email letters home to friends and family, and recordings of his conversations. The piece is staged environmentally, with photographs, video footage, and a sound track designed to bring the audience as close as possible to the reality of being there.
Unlike others who might travel to the region with pre-conceived ideas, Benji was determined to keep an open mind and even chose to walk some of the routes between sites in order to better understand the situation at all levels. What he has to share is difficult to comprehend and painful to witness, but at its core, Everyday, Somewhere Here is filled with small kindnesses and courtesies, and a desperate hope in the continuing humanity of these people—against all the odds.
In the long term, Everyday, Somewhere Here is envisioned as a three-part project, incorporating an audio-visual exhibit, the performance piece, and an interactive website that will allow Americans from all backgrounds to stay involved with the stories of the people they meet through the play, and to find a way to work for change. While the initial production is planned for New York City, the dream is to tour the U.S., and then to perform it back in Israel and Palestine.
“I think of the children in Hebron that have to be escorted to school to protect them from the settlers. I think of the two men just outside Bethlehem, who were about to lose their livelihood because of the Wall. I think of the many Israelis who risk imprisonment to stop their country from inflicting such horrors on another people. Of the mother who showed me a picture of her Martyred son that she wore around her neck, come to beg for money at the gates of Arafat's compound in Ramallah. Of the tears in the eyes of a Palestinian man, as he embraced the young Israeli peace activist, in disbelief that she had snuck into the West Bank to help him protest the annexation of his family’s land.
An Israeli friend of mine told me once that if he had been born a Palestinian, he would have blown himself up long ago. “ from Everyday, Somewhere Here
Theatre without boundaries Melody Brooks, Artistic Director presents
A work-in-progress production
Everyday Somwhere Here: Letters From Palestine and Israel
by Benji Rogers; adapted/created by Melody Brooks 6 performances only!
Saturday, January 26 – Friday, February 1, 2008 All performances at 8:00pm (No performance Tuesday, January 29th)
At The Spoon Theatre, 38 West 38th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues), 5th Floor Tickets: $10 (cash only)
Please join us for this very special performance and production which has been two-years in the making. Our struggle to get the piece on its feet, after an initial staged reading in Summer Harvest 2005, has been an eye-opening journey for us, both as theatre artists and as Americans. We are very eager to share the work with our colleagues, and to bring this important story to the public..
Everyday, Somewhere Here is based on the experiences of Benji Rogers, a young British American who spent a month in Palestine and Israel in the summer of 2004. The piece chronicles his journey throughout the towns and refugee camps of Palestine, his conversations with ordinary people on both sides of the Green Line, and distills the tragedy of this epic conflict into a personal testament on behalf of those who are unable to speak to the world for themselves. This play is written directly from Benji’s email letters home to friends and family, and recordings of his conversations, and has been developed with NPT artistic director Melody Brooks. The piece is staged environmentally, with photographs, video footage, and a sound track designed to bring the audience as close as possible to the reality of being there.
Production Designer: Meganne George
Lighting Designer: Aaron Spoorer, Sound Designer: David Schulder
with Michael Pauley and Brandon D’Augustine, Ziad Ghanem, JR Greeman, Keon Mohajeri
Information/Reservations: 212-630-9945; email@example.com
In the long term, Everyday, Somewhere Here is envisioned as a three-part project, incorporating an audio-visual exhibit, the performance piece, and an interactive website that will allow Americans from all backgrounds to stay involved with the stories of the people they meet through the play, and to find a way to work for change. With this production we hope to find partners in the process of moving it forward!
Who I'd like to meet:Writers, Activists, Israelis, Palestinians, Journalists, Musicians, Artists, Photographers, Actors and anyone else who is interested in the situation in both Palestine and Israel.
- Status: In a Relationship
- Here for: Networking, Friends
- Hometown: Manhattan NY
- Orientation: Straight
- Height: 6' 2"
- Zodiac Sign: Pisces
- Smoke / Drink: No / Yes
- Education: Some college
- Occupation: Musician