Thursday, January 21, 2010

Giving New Meaning To "Bombing On Opening Night"

Consumers of high brow culture like our own Saint Paul will want to mark their calendars for an important theatrical opening at the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis. Yes folks, it's finally here, but only for a limited engagement. February 18th through the 28th will likely be your only local opportunity to catch the explosive play I Heart Hamas:

With the current ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the threat of global terrorism, and the never-ending negotiations and hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by all of the bad international news. That's exactly how Jennifer Jajeh feels. And to make matters worse, Jennifer is Palestinian. Well, Palestinian American. Or more precisely: a single, Christian, first generation, Palestinian American woman who chooses to return to her parents' hometown of Ramallah at the start of the Second Intifada.

Join her on American and Palestinian soil on auditions, bad dates, and across military checkpoints as she navigates the thorny terrain around Palestinian identity. Weaving together humor, slides, pop culture references and live theatre, Jajeh explores how she becomes Palestinian-ized, then politicized and eventually radicalized in a fresh, often funny, searingly honest way.

Radicalization is not something that we typically see being expressed in fresh, funny, and honest ways these days (although searing may be involved). Since Jaheh is a Christian we can engage in some rational profiling and assume that radicalization for her doesn't mean quite the same thing as it did in the recent cases of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab or Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Still, it seems hard to imagine that a play whose title expresses love for a terrorist organization and celebrates such "radicalization" in the Middle East is going to prove to be much of a draw for those not already sympathetic to such views. Although it does seem easy to imagine it drawing rave reviews from local theater critics.

SISYPHUS ADDS: I will consider going if she adds puppets.


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