Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jewbiquitous Outing: Dai

Last night Harley and I went to go see the play Dai, written and performed by Iris Bahr, at the Culture Project. From the posters in the lobby, it looks like The Exonerated was also performed there, and as my elder brother can attest, it was pretty fabulous. I stayed late at work (to make up for the hours I miss leaving early for Shabbes), and Harley came to join me for dinner in my office. For the record, Cafe Classico takes WAAAAY too long to deliver. But my turkey sandwich was pretty awesome. Due to the lateness of delivery, Harley and I may or may not have had to jog from the subway to the theater. In high heels. And it was cold.

At any rate, we arrived thankfully before the curtain, got our tickets, and took our seats. For anyone who was unaware, Dai (Hebrew for enough) is a one-woman show, performed entirely by Ms. Bahr. The premise is that the show takes place in a Tel Aviv coffee shop, right before a piguah*. Ms. Bahr moves around the room changing shirts, hair styles, accents, and occasionally gender, portraying each person in the minutes before the bomb goes off. Before I say anything else, I'd just like to point out that Ms. Bahr is a fabulous actress, she made every character believable, and different, and managed to portray a wide cross-section of Israeli society without making the characters too stereotypical.

Two things made this play so powerful, the first was the injection of individual personality into the victims of a suicide bomber, the second was that each vignette closed with the sound of a bomb, the lights going out, and the associated sounds after an attack (ambulance, megaphone, screams, cries) while Ms. Bahr slumped/moved as if she had been hit by a blast. Then there was a musical segue to the next character while she changed. After the first two "bombs" I realized that it was going to be a leit motif, and it put me on edge (which was clearly the intent). I knew that at some point there would be a loud noise (I startle easily). It was very hard to watch the "bomb" go off over and over. By the third or fourth time I was actually crying: the sounds are so realistic, and you become invested in the characters. I'll try hard not to spoil the play, but the way that the plot interweaves is interesting, and adds a new dimension, although by the end the focus on politics became more obvious and heavy-handed.

As the lights went up Harley and I were in a state of shock. I was trembling. The play had been moving, startling, funny, and intense. My only critique is that an audience must be fairly au courant with Israeli politics, and a grasp of Hebrew, and of Israeli culture certainly makes the play more enjoyable, but I think that one can get the idea without it.

While I gathered my coat, the little old (presumably Jewish) lady next to me told me to go see a doctor about my cough. This would have completed the evening for me, if Harley and I hadn't heard two Israelis talking about going back to Israel as we entered the subway. Israelis=Jewbiquitous. I was so shaken by the play that I went straight home (instead of joining a friend from out of town for drinks). And by "home" I mean "CJ's apartment." So that he could talk me down.
All in all? An amazing, if ridiculously intense, experience.

*Piguah is Hebrew, colloquial for a suicide bomb, or attack.

A clip from the play.

1 comment:

JT said...

Sounds great. Ill have to go see it.