How to Make a Revolution at Finborough Theatre online
It’s serendipity that Issa Amro and Einat Weizman’s How to Make a Revolution lands while Amnesty International has joined other leading human rights organisations (B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch) in indicting Israel for the crime of apartheid. Staged online for the Finborough Theatre’s digital initiative, the documentary play is a didactic appeal for solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Hailing from Hebron in the West Bank, Amro is a human rights defender who has been arrested and tried by both the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority. Using verbatim transcripts and video recordings, both from the UK and Hebron, Weizman, Amro and director Tommo Fowler reconstruct three of Amro’s actual court cases. In doing so, the writers and directors satirise the Palestinian experience in the Israeli legal system.
Amro’s presence is pervasive, acting as omniscient director and narrator of the court proceedings. As he depicts the mounting injustices in the cases against him, his commentary has a darkly wry edge. Not only is a prosecutor (Waj Ali) allowed to play judge at the military trial but is slyly referred to as “the persecution”. The small ensemble of Ramzi DeHani, Jasmine Naziha Jones and Rez Kabir aren’t given much to do, but they effectively create the tragic-comic spectacle of the court.
However, the digital staging is questionable theatrically. While the seamless cuts to Amro’s straight-to-camera monologues allow the actor intimacy with which to implicate his audience (especially in the UK, US and Germany), the play falls away into a naked documentary appeal. The digital renderings of the court exteriors and the on-screen typing seem a clunky afterthought. As such, urgency overrides creativity.
Regardless, Amro’s activism and the ongoing struggle against occupation need to be platformed. With a lack of international action and waning protest abroad, such work needs to be seen when conflict in the area continues. It is with remarkable optimism that Amro makes clear that a revolution is coming built on non-violence, accountability, peace, and, hopefully, international solidarity.
How to Make a Revolution is available at Finborough Theatre Online from 31st January until 28th February 2022. For further information visit the theatre’s website here.