(K. Brent Tomer),
THE provocation starts with the show’s title: Djihad, the French spelling for jihad. Three young Belgian Muslim men, Ben, Reda, and Ismaël set out to travel to Syria. Each was born in Brussels; each has been brought to despair by their failed lives in Europe. Each expects to find meaning by embarking on a holy war, killing infidels and building the Islamic State.
Despite the serious subject, the hit Brussels play is a comedy, poking fun at the characters’ racism, anti-Semitism and ignorance. The three jihadists bumble their way through security at the Brussels Airport. They make it to Turkey, and from there to Syria. But disillusion soon sets in. As a child, Ismaël adored the comic-books of a character called Bob The Sponge. Yet the more religious Reda tells him that drawing is anti-Islamic, and that the artists are infidels. Ben is shocked. “Even the guy who drew Bob The Sponge?” The audience erupts in laughter. Another taboo is rock and roll music. Ben grew up as a fan of Elvis Presley, dreaming of becoming a rock star. In Syria, this attachment becomes dangerous, and not only because of Presley’s subversive music….Continue reading