Alien Land is a devised solo show inspired by The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, the first science fiction novel in the Middle East. Performed in Arabic with English surtitles, it is a dark comedy which looks at life under occupation and the contemporary refugee experience from a radical new perspective.
As both a Bedouin and a Palestinian refugee from the 1948 Nakba, the show is built around solo performer Momin Swaitat’s family history and folklore. It draws on his memories of growing up in a world turned upside down by the violence and disruption of the Second Intifada – when his neighbourhood became an overnight battle zone, schools were closed and there was widespread curfew.
Fusing the ancient Arab tradition of the hakawati (travelling storyteller) with hallucinatory physical theatre sequences, it is a tale of love, loss and exile which will leave audiences unsure of which time, place or universe they have landed in.
Momin Swaitat is a Palestinian actor, writer and director who has trained at the Freedom Theatre, Jenin and LISPA, in London and Berlin. He has performed in numerous shows with the Freedom Theatre, working alongside director Juliano Mer Khamis on productions such as Animal Farm, Alice in Wonderland, Fragments of Palestine and Waiting for Godot which toured in major theatres in Europe and the U.S. He has collaborated with acclaimed directors such as Thomas Ostermeier (Schaubühne Theatre) and Rufus Norris (The National Theatre), as well as writing and directing several solo and ensemble pieces in Palestine and abroad. He was recently selected for the 2017 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and for the Arcola Theatre Residency Programme. Alien Land is his first professional production in the UK.