On the Road in Lebanon

The Living Theater Meets the Legacy of Civil War and Israeli Occupation

When the group arrives, Hizbullah insists on seeing a run-through—and 200 spectators gather to watch. Hizbullah's gray-suited apparatchik has just one demand: The women need to be careful when they lift their hands because their shirts hike up and their midriffs show.

There are some arresting images in the piece. A prisoner, stiff, carried overhead by pallbearers, lists the ordinary things of life that pass through her mind: mother, poem, thirsty, kibbeh. A man's hands are bound, then his legs, then his face, as he rhythmically vows, "I will resist." The truth is, though, that the piece doesn't really say much more than "They suffered and were liberated."

The students—including some who had left over the ideological difference but came to see the performance—launch into a spirited debate on the ride back north. "It's too direct. Even naive." "No, it touches the heart. You shouldn't be so over-intellectual. This is theater." "Those women from the village were crying. I think it really meant something to them." The van trundles toward Beirut, carrying the LT's legacy with it.

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