Conflict Zone: Closing Time
Theatre across war zones
This article is from 2007.
The young Israeli director, Michael Ronen is not cowed by the traditional inhibitions that most people would have about the mixing of conflicting cultures. The young company he’s formed, Conflict Zone Theatre, is in fact geared to creating theatre through the collaboration of artists across war zones. ‘When I came to England about three years ago I found myself living and working in a very multicultural area,’ Ronen explains. ‘It was an amazing experience, an eye opener, because one realises how culturally isolated I was – coming from Isreal, there’s very little contact with the Muslim world. When I also began working in a restaurant, I met people from various other conflict zones. It occurred to me that this mix of people would be a great starting point for a theatre company.’
The result of all this is Closing Time, a play which involves five writers from around the world, and a cast drawn from equally diverse, and potentially volatile cultures. If a glimpse at them in rehearsal is anything to go by there seems to be sufficient harmony to produce an interesting entertainment. A story that starts at the end of a long day at a plush London restaurant involving four staff from Palestine, Israel, Brazil and Nigeria, and a customer of British-Pakistani stock looks like having the potential for a tense afternoon of theatre.
Assembly @ Hill Street Theatre, 523 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 2.50pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £5.