raphael rodan
sahand sahebdivani


raphael rodan
sahand sahebdivani


Raphael Rodan (1980, Israel) and Sahand Sahebdivani (1980, Iran) discovered each other and their family connection in: Kingdom of Fire and Clay and My Father Held a Gun (winner of the Amsterdam Fringe Gold Award 2017). This time this successful duo takes on the role of someone else.

Sons of Abraham

When you love someone so much – you’d rather kill them than leave them

Two Kurdish brothers Adil and Sami(r) do their last night shift as cleaners of a brothel in the Red Light District. They are about to return to Iraq, to give a dignified farewell to their recently deceased mother. But they have not been honest to each other about their plans…

5 years of living illegally have changed the brothers. Sami aspires to Western life in its full glory, especially the free thinking. He might have moved here to work for his future, but now he is mainly interested in partying. Adil has become very disillusioned in the West. He misses the collective sense of life from his home country and has increasingly returned to his religious roots.

While the brothers are cleaning and discussing the impending departure, we go back in time. They tell stories about their flight, discuss Western values, Eastern standards, exclusion, assimilation and wrestle with the immense internal conflict that both brothers experience. Like in many biblical stories, they are tied together by their brotherhood, but is it enough to keep them together?…

In Sons of Abraham nothing is what it seems at first glance.

Shows in 2020:

Tuesday September 22 – 20.30 (Try out) – Theater Bellevue, Amsterdam

Wednesday September 23 – 20.30 (Premiere) – Theater Bellevue, Amsterdam

Thursday September 24 – 20.30 – Theater Bellevue, Amsterdam

Saturday October 17 – 20.00 – Theater Kikker, Utrecht

Sunday October 18 – 15.30 – Theater Kikker, Utrecht

Sunday October 18 – 20.00 -Theater Kikker, Utrecht

Saturday November 21 – 19.00 -STET / Zaal 3, Den Haag

Saturday November 21 – 21.00 – STET / Zaal 3, Den Haag

Sunday November 22 – 19.00 – STET / Zaal 3, Den Haag

Sunday November 22 – 21.00 – STET / Zaal 3, Den Haag

Saturday December 5 – 21.00 – Podium Mozaïek, Amsterdam

Sunday December 6 – 16.00 – Podium Mozaïek, Amsterdam

Saturday December 12 – 20.00 – Theater Zuidplein, Rotterdam

Sahand Sahebdivani

… fled from Iran as a child during the Iran-Iraq war. The experience of him and his family being refugees provided the basis for many of his artistic works. One of the things that fascinated him at the time was the genuine interest that existed in the 1980s for the refugee as an individual, because there wasn’t yet a mass flow of refugees. When he grew up, he often felt he had to be “grateful” for the new homeland that his parents had chosen to live in freedom, so people are often surprised to learn that his family ended up here by accident: getting stuck on their way to Canada. So for them there was no dream of the Netherlands at all. Sahand is well known as a founder of Mezrab — a cultural venue in the East of Amsterdam. He has also received the Herman Divendal award in 2017, and has been chosen as a Storyteller of the Year in 2014.
“In the West there is an idea that I come from an “enlightened” country. A place where people spend their days meditating and praying, but, with my background, the difference between Tehran and Amsterdam was not that large. Conversely, my Iranian family members feel that the Netherlands is too “materialistic”: people drink and party every day and never think about the future. Also a prejudice that is not true. I have the privileged position of seeing both cultures from the inside as well as from the outside. I want to show that in Sons Of Abraham.”

Raphael Rodan

… grew up in Galilee in Israel and was surrounded by stories demonizing “the Other”: on the one hand, stories from his grandmother who was sent to Auschwitz because she was born into a Jewish family, on the other hand, the stories of his Palestinian neighbors, just across the border, only 30 kilometers away from his house. All those stories put people in a box and Raphael constantly wanted to rebel against it. Discovering theater was a great gift. He graduated in 2008 from the School of Speech and Drama in Harduf in Israel, and then continued his studies in Actors’ Temple in London. Later on, he worked in Israel as a theater director for Arab and Jewish young actors, using theater as a bridge for communication. In theatre he found an art form in which he could challenge people and their beliefs, he could touch people, and make them identify with someone who has a completely different lifestyle and way of thinking. That is exactly what he wants to do with Sons of Abraham. Besides that, Raphael continues to perform throughout the continent, and teaches storytelling workshops.
“A refugee does not exist, it is just a term coined by our mind. Under this term are people who are imperfect but beautiful just like everyone else. The public must feel how they could have been a refugee under other circumstances.”

Tom Radcliffe

… directed the story. He is a director of th London Group Theater and has an impressive track record in the film and theater world. He has been using and teaching Meisner technique for more than 20 years, after learning it directly from Sanford Meisner. Radcliffe spent more than 18 months in the refugee camp in Calais, France, which is also known as the Jungle, where in 2015 hundreds of refugees were stranded and spent months in miserable conditions. Tom was there in 2015 when the large “stream” of refugees suddenly inflated the camp to enormous proportions. Together with other volunteers, he set up crowdfunding campaigns to convert the place into a more humane location.
“When I left Calais, I was in a PTSD state. I didn’t know it then, but the period of sleepless nights that followed made it clear. Images of  friends I left suffer and the danger in which they found themselves, always popped up in my body and mind. I knew it would take time before I could tell the story that grew inside me and that I had to find the right people to tell it. When I saw My Father Held a Gun, I knew I had found the right people. Raphael and Sahand stand with one leg in this western society and with the other leg in a distant house that they left behind. They are displaced. From the way they challenged us Westerners to see our blind spots in their previous show, I could see that they understood the Western spirit. At the same time, they carry a different world. They can build the bridge, the three of us can bring this story to life.”

Julie Peters

Cause of Covid-19 Tom had to decide to stay in the United Kingdom, while the rehearsals were in Amsterdam. Tom directed the whole show through ZOOM. He found a great co-director in Julie Peters. She was on the floor to assist the rehearsing process with Sahand and Raphael.
Peters studied Theater Science and Directing and is nowadays ensemble coordinator at Het Nationale Theater in The Hague. Besides that she is working as a freelance director, amongst a co-directed show with Ilay den Boer for Zina’s Wijksafari AZC. Julie is born and raised in The Netherlands. For that she could also keep the perspective of the Dutch audience in mind while directing.

Production by: Storytelling Centre

Text: Raphael Rodan, Sahand Sahebdivani, Tom Radcliffe

Performers: Raphael Rodan and Sahand Sahebdivani

Director: Tom Radcliffe

Codirector: Julie Peters

Scenography: Mirko Lazović

Team behind the scenes: Dorèndel Overmars and Irina Koriazova

Photos by Raymond van Mil and Alborz Sahebdivani

Special thanks to: Arjen Barel, Farnoosh Farnia, R. Rasheed, Frank Noorland and Karl Giesriegl

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