Palestinian end game
This article is from 2008.
There's a sad irony that a play about mortality should open in Edinburgh only days after the death of its author. Mahmoud Darwish was a major Palestinian poet and his Jidariyya was a response to a life-threatening heart attack a decade ago. It was complications after heart surgery that led to his death this month, but it was his first brush with mortality that forced him to contemplate the great questions of existence in an expansive 100-page poem. Here was a man with more to contribute to the world, yet all too aware that he would soon return to the soil.
In theatrical terms, the poem is not the most obvious piece to adapt for the stage, the more so when its elliptical verse is presented in back-projected translation, but director Amir Nizar Zuabi does a lucid job at creating a dramatic setting for the dreamlike meditations of a man on his death bed. Performed by the Palestinian National Theatre, it is a musical, visual and lyrical piece of theatre that celebrates life, love and language with wit and imagination even as it ponders the grim fate that none of us will escape.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, 473 2000, until 17 Aug, 8pm, £10-£25.