There are many reasons why I love Mona Mansour’s writing. At the top of that long list is the huge heart that is beating in between her words. It’s that heartbeat that has been my guiding light as we work through her play Urge For Going. Mona writes plays about human beings, not politics. And human beings can be sad, confusing, scary, and funny. Sometimes, all at the same time. That is how she has written her characters in this play, and has managed to create a play about a refugee camp that makes you laugh, without ever undermining the brutal reality of her characters.
Don’t get me wrong. I have cried many, many times in rehearsal watching the beautiful work of our actors, but the joy I’ve found in working on the show comes from the fight that these characters still have. Despite their dire circumstances, they live. They love. And they fight for what they want and what they believe in.
Jamila, the young woman at the center of the story, is fighting to get out of the refugee camp that has been her home since birth. But each character is fighting her own fight in this play. Some are fighting for a sense of dignity. Some are fighting to make a home. And some are just fighting to laugh and make others laugh. They don’t always succeed, but they get up every day and try again.
But above all, Urge is a truthful and intimate portrait of a family—a web of imperfect relationships between imperfect people. Imperfect, yes, but never broken. That’s the key to Mona’s magic.
I have spent almost a month living with these characters. As we go into tech, I am thrilled with what we’ve accomplished. And I am truly excited that, in less than two weeks, I get to share their tears and their laughter with our audience.