(Rebecca Jacobson’s article appeared in Exberliner, 10/5.)
Noa is an Israeli Jew. Her husband Amir is Palestinian but has an Israeli passport – he’s from Haifa, a place of relative ethnic harmony. Karim and Laila hail from Palestine, too, but grew up in walled cities and refugee camps. Hamoudi’s Syrian hometown is besieged by ISIS. And it’s in a Berlin German class that these five individuals, manifest proof that there’s no monolithic experience of the Middle East, meet.
That’s the premise of The Situation, the newest piece from Maxim Gorki resident director Yael Ronen. Ronen’s work often lets biography and fiction crash against one another, as in last year’s moving and often funny Common Ground, about the Yugoslav Wars. While this production doesn’t have the same emotional gut-punch, it’s still a vigorous, vibrant piece of theatre. And a timely one, posing questions about the limits of Germany’s Willkommenskultur while managing to find humour in the horrors of both ISIS and the Holocaust: of course Noa (Orit Nahmias) thinks of concentration camps whenever she’s barefoot in her pyjamas.
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