Robert Schonberger at thought home

9 Feb 2009 – Sydney

I went and saw the Belvoir production of Baghdad Wedding last night. I decided to subscribe again this year, because I really love the theatre and, well, it’s something fun to do. Call it a last minute thought. The theatre was thankfully packed out, and it was a packed house for the second showing of the play.

Baghdad wedding is written by a British-Iraqi doctor, Hassan Abdulrazzak, centered around Salim, a British-Iraqi Doctor. All the characters are the children of exiled Iraqi intellectuals, and the play centers around the personal relationships and the childhoom memories of all the 20 something brits.

The play tries to show the humanity of the people in Iraq with, you know, a bit of a brutal shock. Iraqis can be gay and drink alcohol: who would have thought? The play introduces us to all the players before the conflict, and we get to see them in their British settings.

All the while, we get to see how the background of the conflict in 2005 affects each one of them differently, and see how the randomn violence changes the paths of peoples lives. You feel for the characters, but you don’t feel for the situation. The background is portrayed as rubbery. The Iraqi resistance fighters are stereotypical fighters, and the American soldiers are stereotypical American soldiers. Surprise.

The plot is centered around the characters relationships, and we see how the random political violence affect the personal world betwen people. Weddings, divroces, all commonplace, all with the background of a violent Baghdad instead of a peaceful London. It turns out that it’s not too different, give or take a few guns.

The australian production is terrifcially well acted – all the main characters are engaging, and you feel enamoured with all of them. The australian production has a lot going for it, but the play itself tries a little too hard to insert the story of one mans 20s into the framework of wartime Iraq. The background is a little simplistic, though the characters are wonderful. The play starts showing on the 11th, and keeps playing for a month after. Worth seeing.

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