Via Dolorosa Beautifully Executes Struggle, Strife in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

David Bryan Jackson in the Southern California Jewish Repertory Theatre production of “Via Dolorosa” at Missing Piece Theatre.

An intelligent, thought provoking journey through the minefield of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, playwright David Hare’s one man play Via Dolorosa brims with passion and energy through the excellent performance of David Bryan Jackson as Hare. Set in 1998 but full of relevance today, the production reveals the internal struggle on both sides between stones and ideas, between what is tangible and visible and what at the moment can only be dreamed and hoped for.

Hare, a Protestant, decides to visit Israel and the occupied territories to interview a broad spectrum of people on all sides of the struggle. He carefully toes the line of impartial observer, truthfully recording the complicated emotions and ideas of all sides without letting the passion overwhelm him. This play becomes Hare’s internal monologue in deciphering what it all means and the sorrows involved in solving the ongoing dilemma.

Director Patricia Lee Willson wonderfully captures the rush of emotion and stream of consciousness of Hare with constant movement around the stage, while also building momentum through careful rhythm and pauses. The pacing duplicates the constant flow of ideas and never ending journey to solve this troubling issue.

Jackson does a superb job defining all the people Hare meets through expressive but subtle detail of inflection, body language, and dialect. Playful and charming, he connects with the audience through subtle use of eye contact and humor.

Southern California Jewish Repertory Theatre presents an excellent, imaginative production that brims with emotion and thoughtfulness.

Southern California Jewish Repertory Theatre presents Via Dolorosa Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. through November 7 at the Missing Piece Theater, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. Tickets cost $25 and $20, for students and seniors.

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