Who’s going to kill whom? Suspense brings a surprise element to MASKED, a drama about three Palestinian brothers staged on a single set – the back room of a butcher shop where the blood is already splattered against the wall.
The fourth and youngest brother was the first sacrifice, shot by the Israeli army during an uprising. Now Khalid lives at home to take care of the boy who is nothing but a vegetable while Daoud commutes to Tel Aviv to support them, his wife and baby. When middle brother Na’im returns from the mountains, Khalid embraces him. The older brother he admires is a rising star in a Palestinian militia group much like Hamas. As portrayed by Arian Moayed, he is an angry young man, striking, virulent and as we watch him in this back room, he’s caged.
Daoud Heidami as Dauod the oldest brother, is like much of the Palestinian old guard; Daoud chooses to cooperate. “The Israelis get under your skin and you can’t stand them.” He complains, as he laughs and tries to ingratiate himself to Na’im, the brother from whom he’s been alienated for almost a year. But Daoud, for all his good intentions is slightly repulsive, his gestures too large, they appear false.
Ilan Hatsor’s drama translated from Hebrew by Micahel Taub, encapsulates the tensions behind the first Intifada, the Palestinian uprising on the West Bank. Here brother is pitted against brother in a real life drama of survival. But it doesn’t take an expert on the Mid East to experience these tensions. There are no visible heroes or villains here; this is about the human faces behind the ideological issues.
The only chance any one of them has is to tear the mask off the other. But the web of intrigue, lies and suspicion which drive these characters creates the trap from which none of them can escape. In MASKED there is NO EXIT and hell is ourselves, not other people.
By Isa Goldberg
DR2 Theatre, 103 East 15th Street at 20 Union Square East
Running Time: 85 minutes, with no intermission
Tickets online and current Performance Schedule: Telecharge