Pros: The show ably exposes its audience to some very sensitive topics.
Cons: It’s not for the faint hearted.
When you see or hear the date 11 September, your heart usually tightens up; for a few brief seconds you experience sadness, thinking of the thousands of lives that were lost in that tragic event.
Kuhel Khalid is an Iraqi fugitive. All through his hardship and fight to stay alive, he put together his memories of life in the Middle East, and from those he has created a piece of theatre that is so important to see. It focuses on the struggle between terrorist groups and the government, showing the similarities between two groups that, in the media, are shown as being so clearly distinct. The question that is being asked is: ‘Who can you trust?’.
As the audience files into the auditorium, one of the actors, dressed as a security guard, checks everyone as they enter – stopping the stereotypically ‘suspicious characters’. On stage a painter is working on a depiction of the Twin Towers and the Statue of Liberty, eerily standing in between. What we next see played out on stage are the goings on in one of the terrorist groups and the struggles between the different characters – the leader, the servant, the woman, the disabled person and the one who opposes them all.
A curious character that we also meet is a man with a broom and a mask. In a Q&A after the show, Khalid explains that that specific character will always make an appearance in his work. He tells the story of when he was living in Iraq and he was going to a rehearsal. It was just a month after one of his actors was killed for no reason, so he was still shaken up. As he was about to walk into the theatre, he saw a group of men who were clearly about to take someone’s life. As he was preparing himself to die, the sudden death of an old man right beside him left Khalid speechless and numb. All he could see afterwards was ‘the body cleaner’ – a man who helped clean the dead bodies off the streets, armed with a broom.
Khalid draws from his heartbreaking real life experiences. In his own words: ‘These wars, they create my theatre style. What I witnessed is not easy, I still have nightmares. And that shows in my art. I keep wanting to send these messages that we as humans should act together and help stop these wars.’
The performance involves minimal dialogue. Instead, it relies on physical theatre to convey messages of strength and weakness, love and pain, success and failure. As much as there are shock elements to the performance, it will definitely leave you with a chilling reminder of how important it is to show kindness to others. This is the time to act together as one human race, instead of dividing ourselves.
Written and Directed By: Kuhel Khalid
Producer: Red Zone Theatre
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.