Miserable Dreams

A Play


Saadallah Wannous

Publisher The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Dar Layla publishing and translation
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2023
Series Maktoob

Miserable Dreams is an incisive social drama by the Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous. The play, written in 1995, in Wannous’s final years, focuses on two female characters, Marie and Ghada. Both of them live with their husbands, and although the circumstances of their lives are different, the oppression they contend with brings them together. In his critical and brave writing, Wannous lays into patriarchal society and all its ills—the silencing, oppression, violence, ignorance, submission, and obedience—a social structure that leads to warped relations within the family; harms women, children, and the entire society; and is summarized by the terrible situation in which even dreams remain miserable.

Saadallah Wannous (19421–1997) is considered the greatest Syrian playwright of the twentieth century and one of the most important and productive playwrights in the Arab world. The barbs of political and social criticism that he aimed in his plays at the autocratic Arab regimes, and his belief that the theater must play a role in sociopolitical change, characterized both his personality and his writing. In 1996, a year before his death, UNESCO chose him to write the keynote speech for World Theatre Day. Wannous was the first Arab playwright chosen to do so.


Translation: Netanel Silverman

Editing and translation: Kifah Abdul Halim

Copyediting: Amira Binyamini Nevo

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