Dov and Ali Provides No Metaphorical Road Map to Peace
Anna Zieglers Dov and Ali centers on a series of conversations between Dov (Adam Green), a Jewish high school teacher, and Ali (Utkarsh Ambudkar), his Muslim student. Its not as bad as the contrived setup sounds, nor as good as it might be.
In their opening after-class conversation, Ali advances strong ideas about his teachers approach to life: He accuses Dov of (Jewish) cowardice and (Jewish) indecision. His professional composure eroded, Dov retorts that Ali is close-minded and colda proto-fundamentalist. The next 80 minutes of the piece show they might both be right. In between these talks, Dov manages to break up with his beautiful shikse girlfriend Sonya (Heidi Armbruster) rather than reveal her to his Orthodox father. Ali, meanwhile, has his own daddy problems: Having ratted on his sister Sameh (Anitha Gandhi) when she went to a dance, hes now haunted by guilt over her resulting banishment to Pakistan. The more messed up Dova and Alis lives get, the more intense their talks becomeby the end, theyve both unbuttoned their shirts.
While the dialogue is nicely handled and the scenes well directed by Katherine Kovner, its unclear what Ziegler is driving at. Regarding the glaring issues of religious and gender conflict, Dov and Ali rarely ventures beyond the basics. Which leaves us with Dov and Ali, an unbelievable pair to begin withwhy would a smart kid so concern himself with this flailing man? The parallel father-son conflicts maybe give a theoretical basis to the relationship (Alis attacks on Dov are actually pleas for help!), but the actors are never able to take away the plays air of arbitrariness. When Ali finishes his last talk with Dov and escapes to MIT, we cant help but feelvery little at all.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in New York.