I am Yusuf and This is My Brother
by Amir Nizar Zuabi
I am Yusuf and This Is My Brother is a powerful, poetic exploration of history, memory and different forms of love. ‘Before it happened I didn’t know those people existed. Now I’m not certain that we do…’ January 1948. Palestine. The British Mandate is ending. The UN is voting on who will control what part of the land. Ali is in love with Nada – but he is in despair. Her father won’t let them marry because his brother Yusuf is ‘odd’ with his own eccentric, child-like point of view. Rufus, a soldier on the occupying British forces, longs for the cold fogs of Sheffield. War begins and, as the villagers are scattered and become refugees, the secret that’s kept Ali and Nada apart is revealed. Although set within a politically charged context, the play is full of haunting, dreamlike poetry rather than didactic polemicism. Instead of simply exploring the political debate, Zuabi concentrates more on the richness of language and culture. With a keen awareness of the vulnerability and fragile ephemerality of life, I am Yusuf and This Is My Brother explores humanity and love in the context of loss and death.