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with Arabic translation by Ali Al Mshakeel

Fiercely independent Jewish-American photojournalist Jamie Winter meets refugee kids all the time, but when Waleed, a shoeless teenager steps off the boat and in front of her lens, she is suddenly forced to confront her own cultural identity, family history, a complicated past relationship, and the undeniable compulsion to become the boy’s rescuer. Written in English and Arabic, the play explores the idea of motherhood, what it means to truly communicate across cultures and inside our own families, and how each of us defines and finds a home. 


illustration by Jamie Hogan

"Maine playwright dazzles with ambitious Refuge * Malja * ملجأ"

-- Portland Phoenix 

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"The audience was captivated by the production’s ethereal nature."

-- Portland Press Herald 

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Winner of the 2020 Tel Aviv Jewish Plays Contest

Finalist 2020 National Jewish Playwriting Contest

Nominated for the 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 


Actor 1: JAMIE WINTER – Jewish-American photojournalist, a woman dedicated to her career, early 40s 

Actor 2: WALEED – a young refugee, 11-14 years old (Arab/Middle Eastern, verbal Arabic skills required)

Actor 3: IBRAHIM MALOUF – Palestinian citizen of Israel radio journalist, a poet, 40s (Arab/Middle Eastern, verbal Arabic skills required)
Actor 4: THE MOTHER - Jamie’s mother/Ibrahim’s mother/Waleed’s mother/Aid Worker, late 50s-early 70s (believable as both Jamies’s mom who is of Eastern European descent, and as Ibrahim’s mother and Waleed’s mother who are of Middle Eastern descent)


Production & Development History

  • World Premiere Oct/Nov 2018 at Portland Stage

  • One-week workshop & readings during Portland Stage's 2017 Little Festival of the Unexpected

  • Readings of 30-minute excerpt as part of Acorn Productions’ 2016 Maine Playwright’s Festival

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