Review by Brenda Repland
It’s 1993 and – unbeknownst to even the highest levels of their governments – a group of Israelis and Palestinians are meeting to negotiate what while come to be called the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO.
It all begins with one Norwegian couple who created the diplomatic back channel that would bring Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat to the peace table. Terje Rød-Larsen (note to production: Terje is pronounced Tair-yeh, NOT Taiya) played brilliantly by the ever-perfect Jefferson Mays and his wife, Mona Juul, also brilliantly played by Jennifer Ehle, are the illustrious couple. Her position in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and his as director of the Fafo Institute for Applied Social Sciences put them in the ideal place to initiate the whole process.
For most of the participants, this will be the first time they have ever met their sworn enemy face to face. Mr. Sher captures perfectly both the hesitation and curiosity about the “other.” As one Palestinian puts it after a brief talk with his Israeli counterpart, “you are my first Jew.”
Foreground from left: Daniel Jenkins, Daniel Oreskes, Michael Aronov and Anthony Azizi in “Oslo.”
Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are passionate about their homelands, frequently escalating into shouting matches. Yet they are also driven by the commitment to succeed in breaking the cycle of failed peace talks.
This is a stirring play and one that should be required viewing for all. There are more lessons to be learned from it than this reviewer could list. The fact that the entire cast is excellent only adds to the “must see” aspect