Theatre Review: Jeremie Bracka in Arafat in Therapy - NIDA (10.07.13)

Man lies on a doctors couch with arms raised in high emotion.

A one man political comedy parodying the Middle East peace process – this I had to see. Human Rights lawyer and one time UN worker Jeremie Bracka presents a mockumentary / biography of his life from early memories of childhood with his Polish mother and Egyptian father up until his time living in Israel and working for the United Nations. With more than twenty different characters thrown in to the mix it is sometimes hard to keep up with the fast paced monologue of Bracka, who seamlessly shifts from one persona to the other.

By far my favourite character was his boss while at the UN. Played to satirical perfection, it was easy to relate to the unrealistic and often hilarious demands placed on Bracka by his employer who appeared more interested in the latest celebrity gossip than making peace. Who doesn’t have an Aunt and Uncle with unique and crazy habits that to others would appear odd but to you; it’s just part of who they are, or that one teacher who seemed to play by her own rules.

I confess my political knowledge of the Middle East is basic at best so there were aspects of the performance that I simply did not understand. Also, many of the jokes relating to the trials and tribulations of being Jewish by-passed me completely as it was not experiences I could relate to, this did not mean, however, that they were not amusing.

There was a particular moment near the end of the performance when Bracka adopted the persona of two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, whom he had been interviewing about the peace process. Both men had suffered loss at the hands of extremists and watching the characters relay their pain and confusion at such brutality and violence added a moment of poignancy and deep sorrow to a largely comical farce. It was deeply moving and reminded the audience that all jokes aside, this is a situation that affects many and is still continuing. It was a sobering thought.

Arafat In Therapy is a roller coaster ride from start to finish, so you better hang on. Performances in Sydney end tomorrow night. Tckets can be found for remaining performances HERE.

Image: Jeremie Bracka in Araft In Therapy. Photo courtesy of NIDA.