Gaza's hell on earth leaves you shell-shocked

PUBLISHED: 11:36 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 07 September 2010

BY MICHAEL JOYCE Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea Theatro Technis Mornington Crescent Three star rating Shell-shocked and wretched, a young man sits on a pile of ashen rubble reviewing his options. In Gaza, the war zone that is his home, how will he choose to die? Should he se

Go to Gaza,

Drink the Sea

Theatro Technis

Mornington Crescent

Three star rating

Shell-shocked and wretched, a young man sits on a pile of ashen rubble reviewing his options. In Gaza, the war zone that is his home, how will he choose to die?

Should he seek refuge in a shelter and just hope the bombs don't find him? Or should he die a hero exposing himself to danger while assisting the injured? Alternatively, he could take up arms and fight back.

The young man is under pressure to decide before the decision is made for him.

Around him, people are maimed, terrorised, dying or desperately clinging to reasons to survive the hell.

As he walks through the streets while processing his decision, gut-churning tales of those he encounters give a picture of family life in the most atrocious living conditions - a lack of sanitation, foul drinking water, little electricity, food or shelter.

The stories - personal accounts gathered from inside Gaza - are combined with news reel and the haunting music and poetry of Nizar Al-Issa.

Writers Justin Butcher and Ahmed Masoud, artist Jane Frere, film-maker Zia Trench and the production's technical team come together in a kind of alchemy that transforms the theatre into a Middle Eastern war zone. Dust hangs in the air, there is the sound of sudden explosions, graphic images appear on half-buried TV screens and the stage is over-run with mountains of shoes which double as rubble and as a memorial to the slaughtered - a symbol now regularly associated with the Holocaust.

However, this 80-minute piece, from the viewpoint of those besieged in Gaza, is not as hard-hitting as it might be.

Sometimes it is guilty of diluting its potent message by being unnecessarily wordy, a case in point being the mother's vignette. But then, it was created in just three weeks.

Until March 14.

Jo Cooke

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