October 10, 2010
By Albert Williams
This powerful 2005 drama by Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad presents two overlapping stories. One concerns the quest of a brother and sister to fulfill the last wish of their late mother, Nawal, that they track down the father they thought was dead and the brother they never knew they had. The other recounts Nawal's own life as a refugee from endless wars among Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Lebanon during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s.
Though Mouawad's occasionally preachy script goes on a bit too long, the twisting tales it tells are important and compelling. And the superb Chicago premiere production, directed by Dale Heinen, succeeds completely. The first-rate ensemble totally invest themselves in their multiple roles, while a crack design team transforms the intimate, low-ceilinged basement theater into a convincing replica of a desert village. Scorched marks Silk Road Theatre Project as a force in Chicago theater.