Tonight at the State Theatre, Arts Centre, I watched TAHA, a play based on the life and works of Palestinian poet, Taha Muhammad Ali.

This one person play was expertly performed by Amer Hlehel, and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi- to a rapturous audience. Hlehel narrated the experience of childhood, adolescence and adulthood from the world Taha inhabited, beginning in the Palestinian township of Saffuriyah. This story of love and loss, poignantly told the human story too readily dismissed when depicting the trauma of displaced refugees.

TAHA conveyed the seamless link between the personal and political, in a telling of the Palestinian struggle for sovereignty that was profoundly moving. Hlehel’s was a tour-de-force performance, portraying an array of emotions with a compelling story- telling craft that held the audience for all 70 minutes of this soliloquy; conveying humour, tragedy, fury, passion, confusion, sorrow and futility, throughout.

TAHA brought to bear, the human cost of dispossession, capturing my attention as a poem brought to life with a pathos and earnest I never expected.

Go see this play – even if you think your understanding of the refugee experience is nuanced – see it anyway. I promise you will be richer for it.

Showing from 10th-14th July, Arts Centre, Melbourne

Box office: 1300182183 or visit