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Amer Hlehel (Palestine)

TAHA is based on the story of the celebrated Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali.  His poetry tells of the experience of Palestinian refugees; his story parallels the story of a million and a half Palestinians who remained in their homeland after 1948.

This is not a play about the tragedy of a poet, but rather about the triumph of his life. What makes the story of Taha Muhammad Ali so unique and special is that it is the tale of a poet that did not for one moment stop loving.

“Amer Hlehel’s TAHA is a dramatic & lyrical tour de force. Hlehel’s epic account of Taha Mohammed Ali’s coming of age and coming to poetry against all odds is a delight for the mind and nourishment for the heart.”

(2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar)


“Pure poetry blossoms in deceptively simple show”

(The Evening Standard, Read the full review)


  • Written and Performed by | Amer Hlehel
  • Directed and Translated by | Amir Nizar Zuabi
  • Designed by | Ashraf Hanna
  • Music by | Habib Shehadeh Hanna
  • Lighting by | Muaz Jubeh
  • Supported by | A.M. Qattan Foundation
  • The play also is based on Adina Hoffman’s book “My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness”.
  • Taha was developed, in part, at the 2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort.
  • Translated poems are from So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005, translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin (Copper Canyon Press, 2006) and used by permission of the translators.

“Rich, vivid… acutely moving. Simply beautiful”

(The Times, Read the full review)


  • Photo: Saheer Oubaid
    Photo: Saheer Oubaid
  • Photo:  Saheer Oubaid
    Photo: Saheer Oubaid

“An inspiring piece, delicate, deeply affecting. Warmly recommended”

(Independent, Read the full review)

When our loved ones leave
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away.

                                              – Taha Muhammad Ali

Taha Muhammad Ali is the beautiful optimistic picture of the Palestinian people – of all of us. In his beloved verses, Taha documents hopeful survival after 50 years of loss – loss of his home, his lover, his friends and his shop in Saffureh in Galilee.

Adapted from Adina Hoffman’s book “My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness” and based on the poet’s life and works, writer-performer Amer Hlehel has created a tour-de-force solo performance interweaving Taha’s singular and exquisite poetry with his compelling life’s journey.

Performed by Hlehel in both Arabic and English versions, TAHA powerfully communicates the sorrow, humor, resilience and tender humanity of this extraordinary man and artist.


  • Written and Performed by | Amer Hlehel
  • Directed by | Yussuf Abu Warda
  • Dramaturgy by | Ala Hlehel
  • Designed by |  Ashraf Hanna
  • Music by | Habib Shehadeh Hanna
  • Lighting by | Firas Tarabshi
  • Production | Qadita Productions, Maraia Theater