Forty Miles from Tel Aviv
"The provocative play, which gets inside the head — and family — of a Palestinian suicide bomber, was once again performed by Diep Huynh and Anahid Shahrik, terrific as the hopeless husband and the unsuspecting wife. Beautiful connection between the two, under Delicia Turner Sonnenberg’s precisely choreographed direction."
"Anahid Shahrik is incandescent as the adoring wife who will do just about anything for her handsome husband. Just about."
“Forty Miles from Tel Aviv ... luminously acted by Diep Huynh and Anahid Shahrik, who play a loving West Bank couple dealing with a desperate, horrific act." - Pat Launer, Emmy Award-winning, San Diego Theater Critic and Arts Writer
FORTY MILES FROM TEL AVIV is a new play by young playwright Brandon Alter and winner of the McDonald Playwriting Award and Playwrights Project.
Malik is a student of law in the West Bank who’s run out of time, money and hope. His wife, Salah, watches over the household, the children, the dwindling budget and larder, and manages to find the joy to go on, and even to dance. When the play opens, she’s so happy her husband has the day off, the children are at school, and they have a large chunk of time alone together. A whole day. And then, a phone call comes, and everything begins to unravel.
Maybe we never know our mates; we barely even know ourselves. And what is the price of self-respect? How much is one willing to give up? To pay? These are heady questions, poetically posed, wrapped up in a loving, sensual relationship. Sonnenberg has more choreographed than directed; every move is evocative of the Middle East’s push-pull of faith and despair.
Needs clash with desires. Family love is pitted against cultural conflict. The language is beautiful, the production stunning, with a magnificent earth-toned, sun-bleached set, suggestive sand-blocks and pillars, all redolent of better, brighter times.
There are no heroes and villains here. There is no condemnation or exoneration. Alter is more interested in exploring the questions than providing answers. But by putting a human face on the ‘monstrous enemy,’ he allows us all to experience empathy. And maybe that is the first baby step toward peace.