Announcing the World Premiere of Rubble

Aluna Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille and present


A dramatic imagining of the celebrated poetry of Mahmoud Darwish (translated by Fady Joudah) and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.

by Suvendrini Lena

Featuring Lara Arabian, Parya Heravi, Yousef Kadoura, Sam Khalilieh, and Roula Said

On stage in Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace February 25th – March 18th

Toronto, Ont. – In late February, Aluna Theatre and  Theatre Passe Muraille partner on the co-production RUBBLE by playwright Suvendrini Lena, on stage February 25 – March 18 in the Passe Muraille Mainspace. (Media night: Thursday, March 2)

Roula Said, playing the poet, looks sideways with a faint smile wearing a red robe. Lara Arabian, playing Leila, looks ahead with feeling. A white chalk writes "I wrote twenty lines about love"

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

A life full of love and resilience, in Gaza, is also a life interrupted by scarcity and bombardment. Rubble is a dramatic imagining of the celebrated poetry of Lena Khalaf Tuffaha and Mahmoud Darwish (as translated by Fady Joudah) and asks the both timeless and urgent question: What is the meaning of poetry amidst a state of siege? And what is our responsibility as we read, write, hear, and witness the survival of the human spirit in poetry?

Directed by Aluna Theatre’s Beatriz Pizano, RUBBLE features a performance ensemble that includes Roula Said, Lara Arabian, Parya Heravi, Sam Khalilieh, and Yousef Kadoura. Pizano is joined backstage by scenographer Trevor Schwellnus, costume designer Negar Nemati, sound designer Thomas Ryder Payne, and associate video designer Avideh Saadatpajough.

Suvendrini is sitting in the sunny balcony of the Theatre Passe Muraille theatre, with lights from windows softly hitting her face. She is wearing a red jacket and a black shirt, sitting with a smile with her hands together on a table.

Playwright Suvendrini Lena | Photo by Yi Shi

“In 2002 as a medical student, I spent time in Gaza, and worked alongside Palestinian physicians. I stayed with a family, in a home that had once been a museum. Years later Lena Khalaf Tufaha’s 2014 poem reminded me of people I had come to know, their struggle, and the rubble. That’s when knew I wanted to enter this conversation, and write this play”

Suvendrini Lena, Playwright

Poets Fady Joudah, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, with director Beatriz Pizano

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work on such an urgent narrative. Through RUBBLE I have discovered the poetry of Darwish and Khalaf-Tuffaha, and Suvendrini’s complex and layered vision.  It has changed me as an artist.  Bringing these human stories to the stage is perhaps the greatest challenge I have encountered as a director to date.  I have accepted it, completely, because it reaffirms, every second I am in the rehearsal room, that theatre has the responsibility to speak out.”

—  Beatriz Pizano, Director

In addition to being a playwright, Suvendrini Lena is also a practicing neurologist, and an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry.  Lena wrote her first play, The Enchanted Loom, during her fourth year of medical residency. The play followed a journalist’s experience of psychosis and epilepsy resulting from a traumatic brain injury sustained as a political prisoner in the Sri Lankan Civil War – in its final year when the play was written.

Following The Enchanted Loom, Lena wrote her second play Here Are the Fragments, an immersive theatre experience inspired by the psychiatric writing of Frantz Fanon which was produced at the Theatre Centre in 2019 and co-directed by Leah Cherniak and Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu.

“When I first met the extraordinary artist that is Suvendrini Lena, we were in discussion to develop and produce The Enchanted Loom at Cahoots. In 2016, she told me she was working on another play, RUBBLE, inspired by her visits to the West Bank and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s poem Running Orders.

She already had a draft and she told me, “It’s about Palestine. It’s urgent.” Alas, as urgent as the play was in 2016, it continues to be urgent and relevant today. At the centre of the story, an archaeologist, and her family, unearthing and weaving through the beauty of the day to day and the horrors of history. Deftly drawn with poetic elegance, RUBBLEshares the humanity of the people of Gaza.  Over the years, the play has been developed through the support of Aluna Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Cahoots Theatre, Pandemic Theatre and Nightwood Theatre.”

– Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director, Theatre Passe Muraille

Performances of RUBBLE will run Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7:30 PM with Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can-Afford at three price points, $10, $30, and $60 and are available now online at

Media Contact

Suzanne Cheriton, RedEye Media,, 416-805-6744

Chalk writing on black surface: I wrote twenty lines about love and imagined this siege has withdrawn, twenty meters.

Rubble by Suvendrini Lena

Running February 25 to March 18, 2023 at the Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue) Mainspace Theatre
I wrote twenty lines
about love,
and imagined
this siege
has withdrawn
twenty meters! 
— M. Darwish