Hancock Cooks Up Arab-Israeli Conflict at GateDate: 2 June 2004
Sheila Hancock will star next week in the premiere of The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, the new verbatim drama from actor-playwright Robin Soans, which has a limited season at west London’s Gate Theatre from 10 June to 10 July 2004 (previews from 7 June).
In September 2003, Soans travelled to Israel and the Occupied Territories with the British-Lebanese director Rima Brihi and British-Jewish director Tim Roseman to talk to people caught up in the current intifada. The interviewees talked as they were cooking.
While sharing their recipes, ordinary Israelis and Palestinians - Christians, Jews and Muslims - reveal how they manage to live in a land of walls, checkpoints and suicide bombings. Kusa mahshi u waraq (stuffed courgette and stuffed vine leaves) jostles with gefilte fish; Thai stir fry with barbequed goat's testicles; fattoush (stale bread salad) and kibbeh (pounded wheat and lamb) with Greek salad.
Hancock’s most recent stage credits include Vassa, In Extremis, The Cherry Orchard and, with her late husband John Thaw, Peter Pan. In The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, she’s joined in the eight-strong cast, who portray 42 real people between them, by Keith Bartlett, Amanda Boxer, Tom McKay, Daniel Pirrie, Abigail Thaw, Ben Turner and Jerome Willis.
The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is written and researched by Soans, whose other plays include A State Affair and Bet Noir. The recipes featured in the piece, plus 70 others collected by the team, will be published in actual cookbook by Aurora Metro Press.
- by Terri Paddock