In the autumn of 1990, during Operation Desert Storm, two young men, one a troubled Canadian soldier, the other a teenage Palestinian black-marketeer, meet in the scorched Qatari desert. Breaching the divide of a profound cultural misunderstanding and against a backdrop of massive global conflict, these two become unlikely and secret friends. This tenuous friendship is severed by the torture and murder of the 16-year-old Palestinian inside the Canadian base—an act to which the Canadian soldier was at least a witness and perhaps a willing participant.
Weaving poetic drama with myriad documentary sources, A Line in the Sand rips the benevolent mask off recent western peacekeeping operations and challenges Canada’s long treasured national mythology that it is a nation of quiet diplomats. It asks us to imagine how horrors like these could be perpetrated with our money, in our name and by people much like us.
Cast of 3 to 5 men.
About the author
Guillermo Verdecchia is a writer of drama, fiction, and film; a director, dramaturge, actor, and translator whose work has been seen and heard on stages, screens, and radios across the country and around the globe. The author, or co-author, of, among other works, The Noam Chomsky Lectures and Insomnia (with Daniel Brooks); Fronteras Americanas, The Terrible but Incomplete Journals of John D., bloom; A Line in the Sand (with Marcus Youssef), and the controversial Adventures of Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil (with Camyar Chai and Marcus Youssef). He is a recipient of the Governor General’s AWard for Drama, a four-time winner of the Chalmers Canadian Play Award, a recipient of Dora and Jessie Awards, and sundry film festival awards for his film Crucero/Crossroads, based on Fronteras Americanas and made with Ramiro Puerta.
He lives in Toronto with Tamsin Kelsey, his partner of many years, and their two children.
Awards and Recognition*
Chalmers Canadian Play Award (1997) A Line the Sand with Marcus Youssef
Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, Community Recognition Award (1994)
Chalmers Canadian Play Award (1994) Fronteras Americanas
Governor General’s Award for Drama (1993) Fronteras Americanas
Governor General’s Award for Drama, Finalist (1992) The Noam Chomsky Lectures with Daniel Brooks
Chalmers Canadian Play Award (1992) The Noam Chomsky Lectures with Daniel Brooks
Chalmers Canadian Play Award (1990) i.d.
- Winner, MECCA Award
- Winner, MECCA Awards
“Mesmerizing … compelling and ambiguous … Verdecchia and Youssef pull off the tricky task of crafting a complex interpersonal drama that is also a potent allegory. … A reference to the then-recent Oka crisis creates provocative parallels between the Israel/Palestine divide and the ongoing effects of North American colonization. … [In 2016] A Line in the Sand inarguably remains relevant. Given its content, it seems likely that Verdecchia and Youssef will celebrate the day when this play doesn’t need another revival.”
– Toronto Star