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"Theater asks questions, provokes thought and takes you on an emotional journey, portraying good and bad, joy and sorrow, redemption and salvation," declares Lina Sahab, deploying a good approximation of a radio announcer's voice.Divided into five scenes, the performance centers on the feelings of yearning, grief and anger expressed in the monologue of a mother named Hala (Julia Kassar) who lost her husband Ibrahim in war (one never precisely identified), which her son Yusuf later also joined, and that also claimed the life of her daughter Soha – killed by a sniper.This theme of feminine loss and yearning – whether the narrative voice is that of mother, wife, sister or daughter – will be familiar to theater, film and television audiences throughout the Middle East and North Africa.For audiences who are themselves captivated by the theater of mourning and loss, "Close to Here" will likely be seen as an unconditional success.In Dib's knowing deployment of comic irony and the absurd as a counterpoint to well-worn narrative conventions of loss and grieving, there resides a possible creative solution to theaters' exhausted narrative conventions.
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