Thursday, 21 June 2012

'I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You'

As I have probably said far too many times, I don't do comedy, and even have a slight resentment at the way that comedy dominates the Fringe. It's not a reflection on the comedians themselves - although I fear that there is a trend for some unpleasant opinions to be bandied about under the excuse of "it's just a laugh" - but on my own desire to be punished by Serious Ideas whenever I enter a theatre.

Then again, I once reviewed Kunt and the Gang. And loved it.

Jennifer Jajeh's monologue, however, has the sort of title I can get behind: I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You. Not that I can even begin to articulate an opinion on the Palestinian question (I struggle to understand the local council question). I just like the controversy it is likely to cause.

The set-up is pretty theatrical too: "It's a tragicomic solo show that weaves together humour, live theatre, multimedia and pop culture references," Jajeh says. "It was inspired by my move to the West Bank town of Ramallah in June 2000 where I watched the Intifada unfold over the next year and a half. When I came back and explained to my friends how we’d sneak out for pints and to underground parties while dodging tear gas canisters and gunfire, they urged me to start writing it down."

Since my knowledge of Palestine comes from the work of David Greig, Jajeh's reasons for the show strike a chord. "My show deals with the intersection of my Palestinian and American identities and what’s happening on the ground in Palestine in a comedic, provocative yet thoughtful way," she continues. "It’s a first person perspective we aren’t seeing in the media or the arts, and I think people are hungry for a fresh, very candid, female take on the issues."

And unlike much of the Fringe, I Heart Hamas is a seasoned production, not a new show that, frankly, could be anything. "For the past 10 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working as an actor, writer and producer in theatre and film on many inspiring projects; however,  touring this show for the past 5 years has truly been the highlight," she recalls. "It's allowed me to engage with live audiences in very immediate and satisfying ways, challenging my perspective and opening up conversations that people have been afraid to embark on publicly."

"The Fringe affords an opportunity to not only get my work out to a European audience who I think will resonate with my sensibilities, but also to gain wider exposure and support for the stories I’m seeking to tell. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Scotch whiskey."

Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel (#109)
20:35 (21.55)
2-5, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25 August 2012

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