3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Divided World is an astonishing anthology of plays skilfully put together by Kenneth Pickering from York St.John's University. It brings together the works of contemporary award-winning playwrights all of whom have an Arab connection.
Published in 2017, the play illustrates how human lives in the Middle-East were impacted by a politically instigated crisis. The playwrights in their unique ways, successfully portray the tragedy and complexity of the current situation in the larger Middle-East and the elusive peace. All the plays featured demonstrate how imperialist interference and the selfish manipulation of this particular region has continued to affect generations.
Exploring the Boundaries -A Sykes-Picot duologue devised by Kenneth Pickering sets the tempo. It is an imaginary encounter between Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Picot in 1916. Sykes is English while Picot is French. In their roles, the two demonstrate how Britain and France, with the blessings of Imperial Russia, shared the territories and ancient nations of the Middle-East. The two agree to dismember the Ottoman empire in the name of peace establishment with oil wells as the price.
The other plays that feature in this amazing collection include, A Very Short Play for Syria by Hannah Khalil,Jump, by Kate Al Hadid, The Several Beheadings of Ashraf Fayadh, The Ship No One Wanted (A Monologue), Corner of a Foreign Field, and American Nightmare all these last four by Hassan Abdulrazzak.
My personal favorite among all these was Jump, by Kate Al Hadid. The story of Yousef resonates with the hopelessness and desperation that is characteristic of many from the Middle East. He captures this very well in a conversation with Hana."The bombings, the attacks...No opportunities...Is this what you wanted for me?".His attempt to escape the mess in Gaza by taking part in the Parkour championship meets plenty of challenges. Metaphorically, the play portrays the hopelessness and helplessness that exists among the people of the Middle-East in general. The playwright in this particular play makes very good use of symbolism to display the restriction, limitation, and general sense of containment in the cage that is the Middle-East.
I was very impressed with the way this anthology artistically handled very emotive issues and for that reason, I gave it 3 out of 4 rating. The background information provided at the beginning of every play was very helpful. I must admit that I found it hard to enjoy the monologue. Several editorial errors were also observed. The use of adult words makes the play unsuitable for young readers. I would advise all those who have an interest in World History and Politics to consider reading this.
View: on Bookshelves