Thread – a play about Israel and Palestine

February 11, 2015 by Sabina Baunin
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J-Wire interviews award-winning international actress Mischa Ipp, who stars in playwright Elena Zuckers world premiere of Thread in Western Australia.

Thread, a psychological thriller that plays out in the realm of cyber space and real life, is featured in Perth’s Fringe World Festival and is being performed at The Velvet Lounge in Mt Lawley.

It explores the contentious and often confusing nature of the political and the self, of Israel and of Palestine. Identity trapped between questions of what is fact and what is fiction take centre stage in Thread. Mischa Ipp elaborates below.

How did the idea for Thread come about?
 
Adrienne Downs

Mischa Ipp

I want to create dynamic and honest theatre that increases empathy and kindness. When I commissioned the playwright, Elena Zucker, to write this play, we discussed what stories we were interested in telling that could achieve that. I had been very impacted by the latest Israel/Palestine war. I don’t think I had ever engaged so much in a current world event; researching, discussing and actively finding articles that made opposing arguments to try to better understand which side I am “supposed” to take. I tend to side with the politically left, who thought one thing, and yet my Jewish and Israeli family thought the opposite. Through my research, every article I read persuaded me of the writer’s opinion, with excellent facts and arguments. I got so torn up inside. I believe that when you tell stories you should ask questions, rather than give answers, so what better topic to explore: one that I do not have an answer for? I was also interested in exploring, in some fictive way, my own previously unexplored Jewish lineage. Anyway, Elena was also interested in all of this, so that was lucky! And then she wrote a play that was better than I could have imagined, so that, well that wasn’t lucky, that was just her talent and hard work.


What was the creative process like?

The first phase was Elena writing intensively and every couple of weeks showing me what she had. I would gush and share some thoughts and she would go home and continue. Phase two was me persuading Elena to direct the show (I had worked with her on multiple shows in the past as writer and director) and the reason I wanted Elena to direct it is because she has an extraordinary way of physicalizing theatre and creating beautiful stage pictures, which I think is imperative in a solo show. But she did so much more than that. She guided me in finding layers, specificity, truth and soul. Towards the end we had an open rehearsal to get some feedback, which was very useful, and then we had a showing to share our work with our NYC friends and peers before bringing it to Australia.

Thread deals with current political themes that many feel passionate about. Have you experienced controversy throughout the process? 
 
That would be juicy wouldn’t it? Unfortunately I don’t have much goss to share with you because this has been quite an intimate process with not many people involved who can create controversy. Although, we have discussed the play with Jews, Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs so that it can be as accurate as possible.
 
If so, how did you respond?
 
Do you expect any controversy to occur in Australia?

I didn’t. And then Elena sat me down and prepared me for it. She said that some people might become angry and demonize me after seeing the show. However, I’m not looking to create controversy, I am looking to excavate humanity.
The play runs until February 18. Tickets: Fringeworld.com.au

Comments

One Response to “Thread – a play about Israel and Palestine”
  1. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Mischa… where’s Palestine???? oops you mean Judeah & Somaria! Thanks Sabina Buanin, definitely won’t go see this one, yet another person’s opinion rather than fact thrown into the quagmire of sewerage that is supposedly meant to educate us.

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