19 October 2016
I am not normally a fan of plays where the action moves around, with the audience moving with it. My ideal theatre experience is sitting down, quiet and comfortable. At Keffiyeh/Made in China, I am forced out of my comfort zone: to move around and interact with the space and the audience and the actors themselves. It lends itself beautifully to a feeling of being fractured, to never quite being in the right place at the right time, of always being just a little…off. Which is entirely the point.
Keffiyeh/Made in China, directed by John Maize and presented as part of Beit Zatoun’s closing lineup of events, is a beautiful, poignant piece that will make you think about the humanity behind the increasingly distressing headlines. Through a series of eight vignettes, the actors show scenes of a life under occupation. For the characters, occupation is simply a fact of life, and life goes on despite checkpoints and walls and pervasive fear and uncertainty.
The actors do a tremendous job of articulating all of this with very little in the way of set or costumes, and the vague sense of unease escalates throughout the disjointed story up until the final scene, which is poignant and dark and left me with a great deal of questions. This is truly a digestible play designed to be seen with friends, to spark conversation and dialogue about a number of issues in our society.