A Jewish beatbox performer (Yuri Lane) and a Muslim video artist (Sharif Ezzat) team up in a genre-smashing, boundary-breaking, hip-hop play, From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey, at 7 p.m. March 7 in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The first narrative drama in beatbox, From Tel Aviv to Ramallah debuted at the 2003 NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival and was nominated for best new play by the Helen Hayes Awards. It is a funny and engaging look at everyday life amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been embraced by audiences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Atlanta. It is being brought to Fort Collins by Hillel at CSU and Students for C.H.A.I. (Cultural, Historical Awareness of Israel),
From Tel Aviv to Ramallah does not take an ideological stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and does not condemn either side. It depicts the parallel lives of young Israelis and Palestinians, and how ordinary people live their lives with humor, grace and cynicism in the midst of conflict.
The play revolves around a day in the life of Amir, a Tel Aviv deejay and delivery boy, and Khalid, a Ramallah internet caf owner whose parallel lives are separated by a barrier at center stage. Over the course of the day, the young Israeli and Palestinian strive to realize their visions of fame and fortune, yet encounter the distinct ways in which political conflict negates youthful dreams. Lane portrays both Khalid and Amir, as well as their respective Westernized friends, extremist friends, mothers — and even their cities — with the precision of a seasoned solo performer and the beats of a hip-hop superstar.
Live, visual "sets" are generated by video artist Sharif Ezzat, whose shifting visual projections are timed according to Lane’s hypnotic beats. Ezzat’s sets have the gritty and realistic qualities of newspaper photos, which lend a documentary quality to the show.
Yuri Lane makes the headlines human by showing the details of family and social life in Ramallah and Tel Aviv. From Tel Aviv to Ramallah touches audiences with its two charming heroes and their simple dreams. It provides an intimate understanding of life in the Middle East and familiarizes audiences with a complex situation.
For more information, contact Hillel at 970-224-4246 or email Hillel@lamar.colostate.edu or visit csu.hillelcolorado.org.