MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Off Broadway

Benghazi Bergen – Belsen An Emotionally Powerful Play

Benghazi Bergen – Belsen An Emotionally Powerful Play
Mohammad Bakri

Mohammad Bakri, left, Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Benghazi Bergen – Belsen at La Mama succeeds in portraying the deep pain and deportation of a Libyan family from Benghazi to one of the most horrific concentration camps – Bergen-Belzen. A strong reminder of the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Veracity Butcher, Lily Leah Azrielant

Veracity Butcher and Lily Leah Azrielant in Benghazi Bergen-Belsen. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Narrated by Silvana Hajaj (Veracity Butcher), the main character of the play, who was transported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with her family. It is there that she meets and share her fate with Rebecca (Lilly Leah Azrielant), a Dutch Jew. They are locked together and forced to decide which one will die as punishment for stealing water. The decision is even harder since they are lovers and each is ready to sacrifice their life for the other. Silvana use the remaining time to tell the story of her family’s journey from Benghazi to Bergen-Belsen shifting between the past and the present in the concentration camp.

The play is well constructed and staged, though at times the direction by Michal Gamily is a bit amateurish, but overall it was well executed thanks to the touching performance of Lilly Leah Azrielant as Rebecca and Mohammad Bakri as Rebecca’s Father.
The lighting by Avi Yona Bueno is very effective and set the right mood in every scene. The music by composer Avi Belllei is powerful and emotionally charged. The costumes by Angela Wendt take away from the show as they are too predictable. Since most of the play revolve in the past under an aura of dream state, the look of ethereal ghost would have created more suspense.
Based on the novel of the same name by Yossi Sucary, Lahav Timor’s take is powerful and very well articulated. The play manages to grasp your full attention, until the very end. Unfortunately the show  resolve in the last five minutes and this feels a bit chaotic. It difficult to understand, since so much is said in such a short time.
I would strongly recommend this play and hope that the run will be extended. I left grateful for having seen it.
Benghazi Bergen-Belsen: La MaMa Theatre Downstairs, 66 East 4th Street, through April 9th.

More in Off Broadway

Streaming Rattlestick’s The Sibling Play as it Jumps Strongly into the Abyss

RossApril 3, 2020

What To Watch April 2nd To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingApril 2, 2020

Sunday in the Park, Isolating with Mandy and Bernadette, While Overlooking the Isle of Toronto

RossMarch 29, 2020

Are Nova Live Streams Rags Parkland Concert Today

Suzanna BowlingMarch 27, 2020

Terrence McNally Dies at 81 Due to Coronavirus Complications

Suzanna BowlingMarch 24, 2020

Good News For Lincoln Center Theater Shows

Suzanna BowlingMarch 24, 2020

Slowly Scheduled New Broadway Shows Fall From The Marquee as Awards Shows Move the Dates

Suzanna BowlingMarch 21, 2020

Ren Dara Santiago’s The Siblings Play Gets New Life On-line

Suzanna BowlingMarch 20, 2020

Coping and Being of Use: SAG-AFTRA Disaster Fund Announcement

RossMarch 19, 2020