DDG’s “Suspended in Motion” makes you stop and challenge assumptions, Dubai

{Thank you for inviting me to your Opening Night, Dubai Drama Group!}

Nothing gives a Dubai resident higher stress levels than getting held up by every single red traffic light on their way somewhere. My friend, Aashna and I sprinted from the parking lot in Al Quoz to the Courtyard Playhouse where the curtain was just about to go up for Dubai Drama Group (DDG)’s latest production to round off the season before Ramadan.

As our heart rates calmed post the will-we-make-it-in-time stress, we were chuckled to find a familiar scene unfolding on stage: busy architect, Aisha (played by Julia dos Santos) venting to her lady-of-leisure best friend, Samar (Zeina Mozaic) about the perils of Sheikh Zayed Road traffic while she’s on route to an important meeting.

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Palestinian-Canadian playwright, Najwa Yassir‘s “Suspended in Motion” featured two one-act plays, “32” and “Conference,” linked by their common theme of throwing two strangers from entirely different backgrounds in a confined space together where they are forced to wrangle with their preconceived notions about the other’s culture or gender.

“In our rush to go through life, we walk past one another without so much as a second glance,” reads Najwa’s playbill note, “but what happens when we stop and talk? I have always loved plays and films about unlikely friendships between two people.”

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With Najwa Yassir, a wonderful person and playwright ❤

In “32,” Bill, (Robert Haag) an older American farmer from Vermont hastily presses the elevator stop button in his fear of whether it would be socially acceptable for him to be alone in an elevator with abaya-clad Aisha, (Julia dos Santos) a young Arab woman rushing to an important meeting.

It was interesting to see the American as a quiet ruralist with an Arab outspoken modernist, as many people who have never travelled to Dubai imagine the Middle East as sand rather than skyscrapers while others presume that all of the United States looks like New York’s Times Square rather than the rural farming communities of Bill’s scenic Vermont.

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Julia dos Santos and Robert Haag in “32”

The show also tackled family dynamics. I especially loved the phone calls Aisha received from her Mrs. Bennett style of mum — the comedic elements to her mother agonizing about her being 32 years old and unmarried was very relatable and Lamya Tawfik‘s Mrs. Wafi was an unforgettably funny highlight of the night!

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Hani Yakan and Zeina Kashem Beck in “Conference”

Similarly, the second performance, “Conference” throws two academics, standoffish Professor Suzanne Murat (Zeina Hashem Beck) and talkative Alen Nielsen (Hani Yakan) together as over-night train passengers returning from a conference. There’s a wonderful pull-and-push to the highly self-aware relationship as both of them are skilled at reading others and examining situations for a living.

While their acting was stellar, I’ve never been the sort of play-goer who can handle cliff-hanger endings! The production put forward so many questions about their love lives, self-image, insecurities and hesitations that I was left wanting for more answers to these characters poised with such substantial back-stories. But perhaps that is a credit to Najwa Yassir’s writing and Zeina and Hani’s acting: Niharika, Aashna and I were enjoying our process of pealing back the characters’ layers so much that we didn’t want the story to end!

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Round of applause for the cast!

Dubai Drama Group’s “Suspended in Motion” has three more shows this weekend for you to check out. The Courtyard Playhouse does not charge for tickets, but does invite everyone to give whatever donation they feel appropriate at the end of the show. Seating is first-come-first-serve despite online reservations on their Facebook event page and website, so get there thirty minutes early! 🙂

Showtimes: Thursday May 2: 8PM | Friday May 3: 8 PM | Saturday May 4: 4PM and 8PM

Until next time, keep exploring! ❤ #nikitalyfe

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At the Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz, Dubai

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

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