13 June 2013

Mini review: Arafat in Therapy

Arafat in Therapy
Jeremie Bracka
8 June 2013
Chapel off Chapel
to 9 June

Jeremie Bracka is a good Jewish boy from Caulfield who studied law, went to Morocco to learn Arabic, worked as a human rights lawyer for the UN and continues to do so in Israel. He's also very funny.

Arafat in Therapy starts with a tea towel joke and there's not too more of Arafat. Where his show really comes to life (and is loved by his audience) is his depictions of the ironies of Israel and of growing up Jewish in Melbourne. As a goy who lived next to Caulfield for 10 years, I know the characters and the world. He shows his upbringing with the kind of love, honesty and belly-laughs that no one could take offence at.

Offence? Any show about Israel is sure to include something that will offend. It's a topic that I will never discuss with some friends because they are my friends and I like them and I don't want to fight about a situation that we may not find a common ground on. For all Bracka's humour and talent, there's nothing in this show to cause offence to his audience – and there was no one in the audience who would know anyone who wears a 'tea towel'.

The closest it came was describing Arabs as lovely people who always offer him coffee. Which is something – humanising characters is what theatre and comedy do best – but it's by no means the parody of the Middle East peace process that it describes itself as and, as he's worked in Gaza, I suspect that Bracka has much stronger opinions that are not on display in this delightfully funny, but ultimately very safe work.

He's also performing in Sydney and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem later in the year.

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