Mother of Kamal


Dina Ibrahim’s play Mother of Kamal is her ancestral story, drawn from her father Fawzi Ibrahim’s autobiographical novel about the assaults on the Communist movement in Iraq in 1948 by the dreaded secret police of the monarchy.  Who knew about this?  Who knows about the Jewish diaspora at that time? To be Jewish and Communist was double jeopardy. 

Kamal’s mother, her real name was Reina, is told that her two sons have been  arrested. Inexplicably, the younger brother gets imprisoned while the older is set free. Reina embarks on a perilous mission to save her sons and uncover the truth of what really happened that night in the cells in Baghdad, and the hazards that come with the pursuit of truth, history and reconciliation.

A good play teaches us something new within the context of our own emotions.  The strength and heroism of the mother of this family is at the heart of it. Cour-age – means blood to the heart.  Yes, this is human beings in a situation all right and the politics are context and not didactic.  Here, just 3 lines from David Erdos’s great IT review of a run with Camden Fringe.  (‘He got it, he really got it,’ said Dina Ibrahim)

Dare the darkness as they shine and show what will be.
The Mother of Kamal is no play. It is instead the heart’s music.
It beats to the rhythms of what it is that ghosts gain;

Like all the best drama, the play has been workshopped, rewritten and extended after its sell out run at Hen and Chickens as part of the Camden Fringe last summer. This longer version with especially commissioned music and poetry runs from January 18 – 28 Upstairs at the Gatehouse theatre Highgate, a theatre premiering innovative new writing. Catch this terrific new production, written by Dina Ibrahim and directed by Stephen Freeman.


Jan Woolf









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