Sometimes I have stood and clapped a production that has been excellent as I felt the need to be counted with others who had leapt out of their seats. However, it is a rare experience to be in an audience that immediately stands as one whilst applauding rapturously. This is what happened on Saturday 16th May at the Lakeside Theatre on the Essex Univeristy Campus as The Freedom Theatre's production 'The Siege' concluded. And over time, as the impulse that propelled me upwards subsides, the profuse images and moments from that memorable evening remain starkly vivid.
The Freedom Theatre is a company based in the Jenin Refugee Camp in Northern Palestine and 'The Siege' recalls the time when some of the Palestinian resistance sought refuge in the Church of The Nativity in Bethlehem after the Israeli army invasion in 2002. The media reported that these men held nuns and priests hostage, the reality was very different. As it transpires these very same men landed up making a massive sacrifice for their fellow Palestinians, and still do, as they are now nomads in exile.
This production is breathtaking in that it hits home hard, it is brilliantly executed with mix of video footage and with a script delivered only partially in English as subtitled Arabic is the principle vehicle. The dialogue swings rapidly between humour and pathos, hatred and redemption and gently draws you alongside the players. The Church of the Nativity's guide introduces us to the location and his love for the place and it's history enabled us all to robustly respond to his closing 'Amen'!
Do not miss seeing 'The Siege', I met folk who had travelled miles to Colchester to witness it, your remaining opportunities are here:
- BAC London 19th - 23rd May (Sold Out)
- The Hub, Leeds 26th May
- St Mary in the Castle, Hastings 28th May (tickets)
- The Merlin, Frome 30th May (tickets)
- The REP, Birmingham 4th - 6th June (tickets)
- Notts Playhouse, Nottingham 10th - 11th June (tickets)
- The Cut Halesworth, Suffolk 13th June (tickets)
- The Tron, Glasgow 17th - 20th June (tickets)