Palomar college’s most recent play aims to change the negative perception toward Muslims.
Palomar’s Theater Arts professor Michael Mufson has directed an adaptation of Yussef El Guindi’s “Ten acrobats in an amazing leap of faith,” with the intention of bringing light into the everyday lives of Muslim Americans and encourages people to alter their negative perception toward the Islamic religion.
The play talks about the struggles of a Muslim family from Egypt who have resided and established their lives in the United States for 25 years. As the children become accustomed to American culture, they start having doubts toward their cultural identity leading into a rebellious stage that concludes into chaos and the possibility of denouncing their identity and religion.
Nicholas Stout, a 24-year-old Palomar student who played the character Kamal, the father of the family, accredited his thoughts of the struggles on Muslim families in the United States in real life.
“Muslims in America and some of the struggles that they face, I say that it’s a relevant topic especially with all the shit that’s going on,” Stout said. “So, I think this is a good way to get it out there like, ‘Hey man, they’re people too.’ These are some of the struggles they face and knock down some barriers.”
This play was produced with the idea of trying to express to the audience that Muslims are not what the mainstream norm have perceived them to be. Mufson stated, “One of the intensions is to resist the dominant media representation of Muslim Americans as terrorists and violent and extremists and all of that stuff. To represent them as part of American culture in a beautiful and positive way.”
With the Trump administration, Mufson believes that the negative view Americans have on Muslims has been happening for years and has been amplified. Being from Jewish decent, Mufson recalled how Muslims now are being treated as scapegoats just like the Jews in Nazi Germany.
“So I see this parallel between that and what’s happening here, in our country right now,” Mufson said. “So, I’d like for people to think about and be aware of all of this.”
When asked about the main motivation of creating the play, Mufson stated, “For people to see this play, and the next time they see a Muslim portrayed as a terrorist to turn their fucking television off.” He added by stating “That’s my goal, for people to go, ‘Enough of this! I’m not going to watch another TV show where Muslims are portrayed as terrorists.'”
Zackary Blanca, a 23-year-old American Indian studies major who played Tawfiq, the atheist son of the family, backed up Stout by saying, “It hits almost close to home, to think anybody who comes to watch the play and it is definitely a touchy subject especially to what’s going on with the mainstream media now and what they show is happening.”
Blanca adds that the play’s actors don’t have to be Muslim as the script places them into the perspective of that world and its struggle.