The divisive and ongoing humanitarian crisis of the Gaza Strip comes under the microscope in Justin Butcher and Ahmed Masoud’s moving 80 minute piece Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea.The play, due to its subject matter, is naturally somewhat subjective in its portrayal of the Palestinian people and their plight – a plight with which the play’s sole Israeli character empathises.
As smoke slithers across the stage, often masking designer Jane Frere’s emotive backdrop of rubble erected from shoes of those who have died in the conflict, the story of a young Palestinian man unfolds. “What are you looking for?” he is asked. “My death” he utters calmly.
Having remarked that popular slang adopted the phrase “Go to Gaza” as an expression for “Go to Hell”, the uncertain protagonist is led from scene to scene and shown the many ways that one can die in this war-torn area – whether by bomb, act of heroism or one’s own hand – and, as he fulfils his destiny in dramatic fashion, his actions effectively highlight the sacrifices made by many Palestinians in their struggle to achieve freedom.
Combining song, dance and hard-hitting monologue, the play is, to quote Masoud, “able to transport a live picture to audiences in the UK”, and, other than a slightly bizarre reference to Madeleine McCann, that is achieved in a suitably shocking yet enlightening manner.
- Jamie Kempton
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