The Theatreguide.London Review
Palestinians Go Dogging
Royal Court Theatre Summer 2022
Sami Ibrahim's often playful unconventional show Two Palestinians Go Dogging gives us a Palestinian narrator Reem (Hala Omran), who guides us through satiric scenes, short games and drama.
The play is set in 2043 at a time when the ‘reanimated corpse’ of the former Prime Minister Netanyahu is stirring up problems for Palestinians which trigger the fifth intifada.
The uprising of protest, connected to the building of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and the demolition of Palestinian villages, ends in the usual way with deaths numbering six on the Israeli side and 1237 on the Palestinian side.
The horror of its central story lies in the consequences of young Palestinian lad Jawad (Luca Kamleh Chapman) killing the unarmed young female Israeli soldier Sara (Mai Weisz) as she pleads for her life. His father Sayeed (Miltos Yerolemou) describes it as murder.
Jawad, who is briefly a symbol of resistance, will also come to a terrible end, as will his cousin Tariq (Joe Haddad) who, in a surreal sequence, gets caught on the rooftop barbed wire of an Israeli settlement, his trapped body for two years a sightseeing attraction for Israelis and foreign do-gooders who name him ‘The Fallen Palestinian.’
Late in the play, we hear about the killing of Jawad’s twelve-year-old sister by an Israeli soldier that might have prompted (though not justified) her brother’s later killing of an Israeli soldier.
The play’s point of view is Palestinian, but it does give voice to the murdered conscripted Israeli soldier and her grieving father Adam (Philipp Mogilnitskiy).
There are many moving occasions in the show that had the person sitting beside me crying. Yet it is a performance that also likes to engage with lighter moments of games such as a variation on Simon Says called Bibi (that is Netanyahu) Says and satiric sketches that for instance mock the International Do-gooders.
They even open the show by getting the entire front row audience to the left of the thrust stage (with the exception of the Guardian reviewer) to dance with them.
If this good-hearted play that won the Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award in 2019 carries any message it is that there needs to be justice for the Palestinians, the fighting needs to end and people should be able to live in peace.
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