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      How His Bride Came to Abraham
    War bride

    "How His Bride Came to Abraham," a strong enough play that could have been stronger, isolates a man and a woman in the deserted and deadly Israeli-occupied zone of southern Lebanon.


    How his bride came to Abraham is in the place you'd least expect her to. When a lieutenant named Avram is wounded in the foot in Israel's so-called security zone in southern Lebanon, he finds something that he never expected to see in the no man's land: a woman.

    What the woman — who goes by the curious name Sabra — is doing in this off-limits zone, where she could be shot on sight, is a mystery, but what she does next is to take Avram into her shelter, dress his wounded foot and feed him dinner. He'll have to wait there overnight until his comrades can bring a tank over and pick him up.

    Company: Praxis Theatre Project.
    Written by: Karen Sunde.
    Directed by: Courtney Patrick Mitchell.
    Cast: Amir Babayoff, Maya Serhan, Emily Mitchell, Joseph Saraceno.

    Related links: Official site
    Looking Glass Theatre
    422 West 57th St. (btw. 9th & 10th Ave.)
    March 20 - April 12, 2003

    You can guess some of what will happen from here, but not all of it. Two strangers, one with an automatic rifle, the other with a utilitarian knife, share this spartan space with nothing to do but talk and keep a guarded watch on each other. They are enemies but they are also a man and a woman. They clash, they reveal themselves to each other, and they grow closer together as they come to understand each other as human beings. Still, can they ever achieve trust?

    Much of the dialogue — which tends to be so simple and direct that it almost makes the two characters sound like children — is calculated to be provocative.

    "Why did you cross the security zone?" asks Avram accusingly.

    "Security zone?" she responds.


    "On my land?"

    "Yes. Why were you crossing the security zone?"

    "For the apples."


    "You left me no brothers to do it."

    But despite a certain amount of obviousness, the play does raise serious issues and takes the woman's side very seriously, the Israeli's side a bit less so. It is not entirely obvious which group the woman represents — there are several clever surprises that will lead you to varying conclusions about that — but the play clearly is meant to use the Lebanese occupation of the 1980s to comment on a whole range of conflicts including todays intifada.

    Despite its challenging issues and provocative dialogue, there-s something a little too pat about "How his Bride Came to Abraham." The characters don't feel quite as warm-blooded as they should, and they budge from what should be very hardened positions too quickly for believability. The play has its strengths — it will certainly give you questions to think about — but it doesn't come off quite real enough.

    MARCH 31, 2003

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