By Marcus Youssef
Directed by Amanda Kellock
Let’s say three actors play out a story that takes place in a high school. Let’s say one of them plays an outgoing Egyptian-born girl who wears a Hijab. Let’s say her parents made her change schools recently because of some graffiti that said, “All Muslims must die,” and that the guidance counsellor at her new school, Mr. E, is doing his best to help her fit in. Let’s say that a big part of his advice to her is to stay away from Jorah, a grade 10 guy who has challenges of his own (namely a temper that he inherited from his dad who’s in jail for beating up his mom.) But let’s say that maybe, just maybe, Fatima and Jorah start to, like, like each other…
In Jabber, it is appearances, and judgments based on those appearances that are challenged. Some of those judgements arise out of our images of the Middle East, some arise out of our image of working class, teenage boys. All are filtered through the particular cultural laboratory of our schools where, unlike almost anywhere, people of all histories and backgrounds are thrown together, and where young people of all kinds must learn about what they believe in, and how far they are willing to go to defend those beliefs.