- Published on Thursday, 23 June 2011 09:15
- Category: Culture
Dressed in a simple black t-shirt and slacks, Jennifer Jajeh takes center stage in a darkened room. The minimalistic backdrop consists of a flat TV screen, a bulky book plopped open on a stand in a far corner, a chair, and an “Ask a Palestinian” sign that would light up from time to time.
Amidst the muted setting, the Los Angeles-based actor gives a powerful performance at her sold out theater show “I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.” This one-woman show is based on actual events from her life as a Palestinian American. But it is only when you get down to the specifics of her identity that her stories start to get amusing and well, slightly complicated.
Her website describes herself as “a single, Christian, first generation, Palestinian American woman.” Her show chronicles her experiences as she tries to find a rationalization for her identity in America, and a way to stay sane on an enlightening visit to Ramallah, Palestine.
Through her eyes, we get to see the world beyond the politically correct America and the war-torn Palestine. She manages to recreate important episodes from her life by acting out the interesting array of characters that cross her path: elder women from the community who’d constantly pester her to get married, casting agents who’d cast doubts on her ethnicity, a gum seller in Ramallah who tries to charge her more because of her American identity, and the love of her life, Judah.
Her ability to laugh at the complexities of her life is commendable and pulls the viewers into chaos of her life. She plays with the stark contrast between the stereotypical representation of Palestinians in the media and the actual people that she meets on her visit there. Her stories take the audience by surprise, make them chuckle, and also catch them off guard shedding a tear or two.
The show has been going on for three years now and has garnered an admirable reputation amongst theaters critics and viewers alike. The ongoing Los Angeles spell has six shows from June 9 to 25 as a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. All shows are held at the Theater Asylum Lab located on 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. The tickets are available to purchase online for $15.
By Alnas Zia, Aslan Media Contributor