Fri. & Sat. July 26-27 at 8pm, Sunday July 28 at 4pm


Written and performed by DEBÓRAH ELIEZER
Directed by BEN YALOM

In (dis)Place[d], foolsFURY Co-Artistic Director Debórah Eliezer cracks open the assumptions of her own identity through the story of her father, Edward Ben-Eliezer, an Iraqi Jew born in 1930, a member of the Zionist underground, refugee, Israeli spy, and immigrant to America.

Eliezer brings twenty years’ experience as an acclaimed physical performer to create a dozen different characters, including her father at three different ages, her great grandmother, their Iraqi neighbors, an ethereal embodiment of the Tigris Euphrates valley itself, refugees, immigrants, and more.

First generation immigrants have often hidden the stories of their past, sometimes to keep painful memories from their children, sometimes to enthusiastically embrace their new countries. The children are caught between cultures, with no way of acknowledging a multi-national, multi-ethnic identity. It was not until Eliezer’s father had begun his descent into dementia that she began to glimpse his past.

“We kept cyanide in our socks,” he said out of the blue one day. And she learned that her peace-loving father had been a spy for the Israeli Defense Forces. Other stories trickled out:

  • as a child he hid for days on a rooftop as Baghdadi Jews were slaughtered during the Farhoud, a Nazi-inspired “pogrom”;
  • at 11 he joined the Zionist underground, smuggling weapons;
  • at 19 he was targeted for assassination, fled Baghdad, crossed the desert on foot, and lived in a refugee camp on the Iraq/Iran border for two years;
  • he managed to bring 8 of his 9 siblings to Israel, unable to save the eldest, who stayed behind and was killed.

Bit by bit Debórah uncovered her roots, and the remarkable history of the Iraqi Jewish Diaspora. Remarkable because Jews had been deeply integrated into Iraqi life for over 2500 years, and made up a third of Baghdad’s population in 1940. And because, within a decade, all 130,000 were gone, expelled, escaped, or killed. Today fewer than 10 Jews remain in Iraq.

(DIS)PLACE[D] follows her exploration of these stories, and asks hard questions: Who has the right to tell the story of a people? What is the significance of borders versus land and culture? What is the relationship of nationality to identity? The work aims to open a space for community dialogue around these issues in general, and specifically within the diaspora of Mizrahi Jews. Through this journey, the artist also finds a missing part of herself, “a song sung in a language I can’t understand” as she puts it. “A dream I can’t remember.”

“Luminous…So beautifully written, performed and directed that you might wish it were longer.” (SF Examiner)

SKU: DIS-19 Category:



DEBÓRAH ELIEZER (Writer/Performer) (she/her) is foolsFURY’s Co-Artistic Director in charge of producing new work, a national festival, internship opportunities and public educational programs. She has been a company member since 2005. With foolsFURY, Eliezer has created and performed in the world premieres of The Unheard of World by Fabrice Melquiot, Faulted by Angela Santillo, Port Out Starboard Home by Sheila Callaghan, Monster in the Dark by Doug Dorst, The Devil on All Sides by Fabrice Melquiot, All You Can Eat by Steven Morgan Haskell and The Jensen Files by Ben Yalom. Eliezer directed and choreographed The Seeing Place for which she also shares a writing credit with Elizabeth Spreen. Eliezer has also worked with a number of other theater companies including Golden Thread, Woman’s Will, The Puppet Players, Marin Shakespeare, Antenna Theater, Eclipse Dance Theater and Traveling Jewish Theatre. As a professional voiceover, Eliezer has recorded for Leapfrog Toys, The Sims video games and numerous radio ads. She also runs a 33-acre artist retreat center in Sonoma County. For more information, visit www.deboraheliezer.com.

BEN YALOM is a FoolsFURY Founder and serves as Co-Artistic Director. Ben has directed many foolsFURY productions including the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s Port Out, Starboard Home (Z-Space and La Mama), Monster in the Dark, the US premiere of Fabrice Melquiot’s The Devil on All Sides (which he also translated), Don DeLillo’s Valparaiso, the West Coast premiere of Martin Crimp’s seminal avant-garde work Attempts on Her Life, and others. He directed the controversial musical Bangers’ Flopera with Inverse Theater in the New York Fringe Festival and the New York Musicals Festival. Ben has also worked with A.C.T., the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Magic Theatre, Playground, the Aurora Theatre, and Encore Theatre (San Francisco), The Cell (New York), and Théâtre Ange Magnétique (Paris).

Ben has taught at Stanford University, California College of the Arts, Loyola Marymount University, the Lee Strasberg Institute (NYU/Tisch), UC Riverside, CSU Fresno, the La Mama Umbria Director’s Symposium, the National Theater Institute, Vassar College, the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and elsewhere. He recently designed a new theater program at the United Nations International School in New York. He served for five years on the Board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Ben holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his fiction and essays have appeared in magazines nationwide. His translations of Fabrice Melquiot’s The Devil on all Sides and Albatross were recently published by Exit Press.

Ben lives in Encinitas with his wife, Anisa Yalom MD, where they wrangle three wild children, and protectors of the hearth White Kitty and Terror, the bearded dragon.

FoolsFURY was founded in 1998, and has since been named the city’s “Best Theater Company” by the SF Weekly, awarded the GOLDIE award for outstanding local company, and received much acclaimed as well as notoriety.

Their productions emphasize inspired use of the human body in revealing narrative, a dedication to nuanced poetic text, and a provocative combination of humor and outrage at the world around us.  We mix realist and non-realist modes, inviting performers and audience members to inhabit multiple conceptual spaces, and to vigorously engage their intellects and imaginations as we travel on unexpected journeys.

FoolsFURY serves as a West Coast hub for the ensemble theater movement, producing the FURY Factory Festival of Ensemble and Devised Theater every other year. The FURY Factory brings innovative collaboratively-created work from around the nation to Bay Area audiences, and gives participants opportunities for artistic exchange and cross-pollination through performances, panels, and workshops. Since its inception in 2005, the festival has featured over 150 new works by some 120 ensembles. For more, visit https://www.foolsfury.org/


“Eliezer is an expressive actor, and her story, lyrical and affecting, is one you’ve probably never heard before…She sings haunting, presumably Mizrachi (Jewish Middle Eastern) songs and prayers that send chills up your spine and embodies, with exquisite, dancerly physicality and vocal power (and clothed in a gossamer, enveloping cape), non-human entities such as the land itself.”Jean Schiffman, San Francisco Examiner

Additional information


Adult $24 (includes $2.00 processing fee), Senior $20 (includes $2.00 processing fee), Student $20 (includes $2.00 processing fee), People with SNAP or EBT cards $11 (includes $1 processing fee)


Friday, Saturday, Sunday

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