This solo show, In Between, is written and performed by the trilingual Ibrahim Miari. Son of a Jewish Israeli mother and a Muslim Palestinian father, Miari grew up in Acre, Israel, and the show is clearly autobiographical. And any autobiographical solo show needs a strong directorial hand lest it slide into self-indulgence; director Elena Araoz's hand is not firm enough.
Many questions arose in my mind during the show's interminable 80 minutes. Some of the questions were weighty, such as: Is peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis possible? Is religion identity? Can love conquer tribal prejudice?
But the main questions I pondered throughout were: How does this man twirl around in place, arms outstretched, for literally minutes at a time, without falling over from dizziness? Why does he repeat this twirling three times in the course of the play? Did he learn some vertigo-defeating trick when he studied Sufi dance, as the program notes tell us he did? But the overwhelming question was: Why am I watching this person twirl?
As a boy, Avraham goes to Hebrew/Jewish school. When he is eight, his father changes his name to Ibrahim, and he repeats second grade in Arabic/Muslim school. When he is older, he goes to work in a peace camp where he meets the love of his life, an American Jew named Sarah.
Much of the show is taken up with their difficulties in finding someone to officiate at their wedding: a large puppet emerges from a suitcase (after much predictable torment by a security agent at the airport). This puppet is first a Jewish rabbi, then an Islamic sheik, then a Buddhist monk; all refuse him. This doesn't cause the despair — personal or political — you might think it would.
All the issues raised in In Between might be interesting if they were treated with some complexity and subtlety, but the broad caricatures, mingled with sentimental memories of his grandmothers, weigh the show down.
The soundscape (designed by Nathan Leigh) is enlivened by Miari's great drumming, but the set, which seems to represent the Wailing Wall (designed by Roman Tatarowicz) remains unused.
The one funny moment happens when the boy waves his little Israeli flag and then notices that its label reads "Made in China."