Subtitled “Three Visions of the Middle East,” Naomi Wallace’s trio of symbolic, thematically linked playlets probes the personal fallout of the years of conflict between Israelis and Arabs and the effect on the day to day lives of ordinary individuals.
A grieving Palestinian mother revisits what’s left of Rafah zoo on the borders of the Gaza strip in A State of Innocence.
Most of the animals have gone – Israeli tanks crushed the turtles – but an Israeli soldier is caring for those that remain. A strange, ancient Russian-Jewish architect appears and it gradually emerges that a tragedy connects the three of them.
In Between this Breath and You, an Israeli nurse (Lisa Caruccio Came) working in a West Jerusalem clinic is confronted by a bereaved Palestinian father determined to expose the unexpected the link between them
Finally (and most effectively) the monologue The Retreating World goes back to Iraq in 2000 where book-loving Iraqi Ali (Daniel Rabin) delivers a lecture about the pigeons he reluctantly had to sell in order to survive the effect of UN sanctions.
American born and currently England based, Wallace stresses the influence these countries have had on her protagonists.
Pilot theatre company keeps the staging simple, with the suggestion of flying birds on crumbling walls, and a quiet passion emanates from the performances of all three actors.
But, bogged down with self-conscious quotations, the often poetic language doesn’t always flow and, despite their common ground, the plays sit slightly uneasily together.
Trafalgar Studios (2), Whitehall, SW1A 2DY (0844 871 7632) ambassadortickets.com/trafalgarstudios till 3rd April £22.50 (Mondays £17.50)