The production narrates the story of the residents of a building in Lebanon. The building is in bad condition and the residents want to fight for their demands to live safely in their building. They talk about pressuring those in power, but their arguments often take a sectarian turn with each resident showing off their pride for their sect and dissing that of others. While remembering their history though, they seem to stop recalling what has happened right before the civil war. Later, a journalist supposedly comes to document the residents’ calls for their rights to live safely in their building. However, it is revealed that she was actually researching something about the residents’ sects and reveals information that shocks the residents of the building.
The production’s premiere was in 2018 following a series of events in Lebanon highlighting political corruption. Namely, in 2015, the garbage crisis in Lebanon was just starting and several protests were sparked because of that and very little reform has been made since then. Khabbaz’s play highlights the role of Lebanese people to rid themselves of those ideological sectarian beliefs in order to better the country. In a comedic way, he writes characters that want to improve, but find themselves struggling to denounce their own leaders’ wrongdoings.
There is no official English translation of the title of the play, but Ella Iza means “Only If.”