The major component to the Arab-Israel conflict can be traced to one thing: history. But this historical context may serve not just as the tragic underscore to the atrocities currently being played out in Gaza, but possibly in its salvation. Just Theater’s production of Jason Grote’s 1001 illuminates this conundrum in a lexicon that is as biting as it is human.
When: Thursdays – Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 5PM through June 20 (no performance Sunday, June 6)
Where: The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley
Tickets: Buy online
1001 moves at a pace matched by the current drama off the Gaza shore as it deftly negotiates between the myth of Scheherazade to post-apocalypse New York City. Between the boudoir of a queen facing death to an Israeli man and his Palestinian girlfriend facing the final act of their relationship. Between Gustave Flaubert and Jorge Luis Borges.
Make no mistake, Mr. Grote’s writing delivers very potent messages and he uses whatever his imagination needs as fuel for his observational locomotion. It’s a refreshing change from the turgid bio-history plays that offer nothing more than the speculation of “what they were really like,” and instead enlists figures from the landscape of time as signifiers to propel his story.
To attempt a plot summation would only serve to make one sound insane, such is the rich temperament of this play; you literally have to see it to grasp its full weight and meaning.
As for the production itself, director Jonathan Spector, working within the claustrophobic dimensions of the Berkeley City Club, manages to accommodate all the world within that diminutive arena brilliantly.
Not one inch was left unused creating a sprawling atmosphere that seemed to stretch far beyond the walls of the building. Both he and his performers kept the pace taut and vibrant, creating moments of deep tragedy and restoration-style comedy.
Rachel Rajput’s performance was of particular note as both Scheherazade and Dahna, the contemporary Palestinian ing