Theater review: 'Sarah's War' at the Hudson Mainstage
Amid the endless polarized chaos and bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, is there any space between protecting human rights and supporting terrorists? Seeking that elusive territory of meaningful compassion is the goal of Valerie Dillman's thoughtful and heartfelt original drama, "Sarah's War," a Freedom Theatre West production at the Hudson Mainstage.
Dillman's play is based on the life and death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American peace activist who in 2003 was crushed by a bulldozer manned by Israel Defense Forces when she tried to intervene in their demolition of a Palestinian home. Already the subject of several dramatic adaptations, Corrie's fate at the intersection of American, Israeli and Palestinian agendas has made her a lightning rod for political rhetoric on all sides.
In this fictionalized version of events, Dillman looks past easy labels. Neither heroic martyr nor naive dupe, protagonist Sarah (Abica Dubay) finds herself in over her head trying to apply the nonviolent protest tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King in volatile Gaza, where she's mistrusted by everyone.
Refusing to frame the conflict in terms of heroes and villains, Dillman's play reminds us that although it's easy to pass judgment from halfway around the world, understanding is much harder to come by.
-- Philip Brandes
"Sarah's War," Hudson Mainstage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Ends March 18. $25-$30. (310) 657-5511 or www.plays411.com/sarahswar. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Photo: Abica Dubay and Terry Davis. Credit: John P. Flynn.