One man’s mouth belted out the sounds of rave deejay music and hip-hop scratching to tell the story of two Middle Eastern cities on Wednesday night.
The thumping pulse of discos and the boom-bap of a turntable resounded through the Lory Student Center Theater – bringing Tel Aviv and Ramallah to CSU.
The lone actor and beat-boxer on stage, Yuri Lane, used his voice, funky dance moves and 15 different personalities to highlight the journeys of Amir, an Israeli deejay by night and delivery boy by day, and Khalid, a Palestinian Internet caf/ owner.
The hip-hop play, entitled “From Tel Aviv to Ramallah,” took no political sides in the conflict, though it touched upon the politics in each city.
As the character Amir says in the beginning – “I know that we have lots of problems, but tonight we are going to forget our troubles and dance.”
Amir, like his counterpart Khalid, does not want to become embroiled in politics. Both want to live their dreams – one a famous deejay spinning records in London and New York City, the other running a successful internet caf/.
Lane used a wide variety of sounds, and grainy black and white photo backdrops to bring the cities to life. The middle of the stage existed as the border, with Tel Aviv on the right and Ramallah on the left.
Amir and Khalid try to get through their night and day while encountering a lot of eccentric characters on their way. For Amir it is his marijuana-smoking friend who loves the nightlife, and his mom who tells him when he gets famous not to forget his Jewish mother. While Khalid must deal with his Americanized friend who loves fitted hats and 50 Cent’s raps. The caf/ owner is also dismayed at a customer who dreams of suicide bombing a dance club.
The beat-boxing noises acted out everything from Israeli helicopters and Jay-Z’s music, to alarm clocks and moped engines. Lane, dressed in a blue t-shirt, gray pants and Nike sneakers, never ceased the beat.
At the climax of the play we find Amir as a soldier defending Israel’s border with a gun, while Khalid throws rocks at army officers because he cannot cross. Khalid’s computers were seized due to the above-mentioned customer who expresses dreams of suicide bombing. Lane ended the play by beat-boxing the words shalom, peace and salaam. Shalom is Hebrew for peace, while Salaam is the Arabic version.
A standing ovation greeted Lane after it was over.
“The play was cool – I could feel what is would be like to be over there,” said Rolando Martinelli, a sophomore business management major.
Ashley Sohn, a junior microbiology major, thought the experience was outstanding.
“He could make any sound with his mouth, the play was unbelievable,” Sohn said.
Another CSU student thought the beat-boxing hip-hop play was a great new way to present the lives of Israeli and Palestinian people, and shed a different light on the conflict
“When it’s something new and fresh it has more of an impact,” said Keith Anderson, a sophomore landscape design major.
Staff writer Brian Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.