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PLAYS: AGAIN AND AGAINST
Dahlia, a radical Arab-American graduate student at Columbia, is detained and interrogated by an Arab-American FBI agent, Omar, who is determined to stop terrorism at all costs. Omar tells Dahlia that her boyfriend used her as a pawn in a terrorist plot. Dahlia must figure out whether to believe him and reveal evidence that may entrap her lover and herself.
”The questions are burning hot and serious. If the aim is to show the characters’ different opinions and qualities and flaws, it’s successfully done. What arguments one sympathize with and who one thinks is telling the truth changes back and forth during the play. Again and Against is interesting and deals with subjects that can be discussed and highlighted eminently on a stage. There’s constantly a tension in the play, forcing the story forward and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.”
“Shamieh chooses the gradual discloser. The plot constantly gets more and more complicated, revealing more and more reasons and psychological motives. An engrossing work.”
”It’s ingenious and discomforting…the suspicions alone are enough to force the characters out on a limb in terms of both conscious and unconscious manipulations. It’s good…a pleading, persuasive warning to not allow one’s self to be easily persuaded.”
”Well-stirred, ice cold shake-up of a play…impressive how spot on the political and feminist hits are…The inquiry between the two characters moves between trust, distrust, violence and connection as the story unfolds and it’s impossible to know what the truth is. Betty Shamieh has written a fierce, intelligent play.”
”Full of concrete insight into how historically, politically and not the least psychologically intertwined the world’s large questions on conflicts are.”
World premiere in Swedish translation at the Playhouse Theatre (Stockholm). Presented in Russian translation at the Ljubimovka Festival in Moscow with support from U.S. Russia Bi-Lateral Presidential Commission and Lark Play Development Center in 2011.
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