How We Fall in Love

This is Act One of The Hakawatiehs How We Fall in Love;  a play about love as experienced by three generations of Palestinians of mixed faiths who had to overcome emotional, physical, religious, political and societal obstacles in order to be with the ones they love. Falling in love in a dawn raid, smuggling sperms from prison and giving birth at a military checkpoint, Act One of The Hakawatiehs How we Fall in Love is a refreshing celebration of the human heart that knows how to soar above borders and walls.

Hakawati is an Arabic word that literally means a male storyteller. Traditionally, the Hakawati would sit in Cafes, often accompanied by a musical instrument,  and would tell dramatic stories, in poetic verses. At the centre of the stories is often a courageous male hero fighting for love and country. This theatrical piece takes the title of Hakawati out of its male dominated space and hands it over to our most intimate and beloved storytellers, our mothers and grandmothers, the matriarchs who teach us through their endless capacity to tell stories that explain the world. They taught us how to love and how to fight for what we love. Hakawatieh’s How We Fall in Love,  shines a spotlight on the heroism and resilience of generations of women putting them at the centre of the stories we tell.

How We Fall in Love

  • Hakawatieh, Storyteller: Nada AbuSaleh
  • Dalya: Saja Kilani
  • Salem: Laith Al-Kinani 
  • Musician: Esmaeel Abo Fakher
  • Playwright: Samah Sabawi
  • Director: Rahaf Fasheh
  • Stage Manager: Ahlam Hassan
  • Movement Choreographer: Devin Alexander
  • Video Designer & Editor: Renée Wong


Part of the 2021 Festival

  • Jun 12 at 8:00pm

Content Warnings: Discussion of sexual trauma, imprisonment, and PTSD.

Rahaf Fasheh

Rahaf Fasheh (she/her) is a Palestinian-Jordanian theatre artist based in Toronto. She is passionate about utilizing theatre to tell stories of marginalized communities through collaborative-ensemble work . Rahaf began her career at Soulpepper’s City Youth Academy program (2015). She has been involved in various theatre conferences and workshops, and has participated annually at U of T’s Hart House Drama Festival. Rahaf was awarded the Pamela Terry Memorial Scholarship in Drama for demonstrating promise in the field of directing. She had her directorial debut at Theatre Passe Muraille with the play Tales of a City by the Sea. Rahaf has a University of Toronto Bachelor’s Degree, specializing in Theatre, and minoring in Psychology. Through her journey as a director, she is interested in exploring intersections between both these disciplines, to further advance actor pedagogies and theatre-making. Rahaf is thrilled to be a part of the Paprika Festival’s 2020-21 Directors Lab!

Renee Wong

Renee Wong (she/her) is an actor, director, playwright, and arts administrator based in Toronto, Ontario. She is a recent graduate of Humber College Theatre Performance Program and has also obtained her bachelor’s degree specialized in Strategic Management and majored in Theatre Performance at University of Toronto. Dedicated to exploring marginalized stories, Renée’s first play We Are Humans, Aren’t We? tackles the themes of self-identities and bullying, premiered at the Act Fast Theatre Festival and is in the process of further development. Renée has worked with Toronto Fringe, SummerWorks Festival and TO Live. Selected credits include: TomorrowLove (Humber College), QT Collective (The 519/Soulpepper Theatre), PrideCab (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) She is extremely excited in collaborating with fellow artists as a designer for this year’s Paprika Festival. Follow her work at Instagram: @reneeewcs

Renee Wong