Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An actor in Ramallah

The skyline of Jerusalem
This is a Guest Blog by actor Gerrard McArthur, who will be playing Priam and Phoenix in This Flesh is Mine.  Gerrard is currently rehearsing the play with Border Crossings and Ashtar Theatre in Ramallah, Palestine.
A blazing day in Palestine, green tea with mint, goats bleating on the roof blending with the call to prayer, a sustained, graceful, wandering colour in the white heat.
Just snatching a coffee outside rehearsal in the shade - it's remarkable here, to live among the oppressed & to live in a no place; very Augusto Boal... Kindness & life exude from these people like the blooming violet flowers that sprout along the roadside rubble, articulate survivalists, with angry grace.  
Traffic more alarming than Rome, a hooting gallery, just about keeping to the roads; pedestrians walking at will as if the raging cars were pesky gnats.  
Was in Jerusalem at Easter. Black & white into COLOUR, and frenzy and fervour and focused chaos: a sense of Holy Rock (Gig) about it, packed into the small square of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as each religion processes around it and in and out again, in a rough-theatre rotation sounding to the deepest of the Sepulchre's sacred tolling bell, people reaching out to passing sacred objects and then a laughing out to passing processing friends; inside, weeping women at the site of the washing of Jesus' body, a short step away from the crack in the stone of Golgotha, a short step away from the kissing of the true remains of the Holy Cross, a short step away from Jesus' tomb - these biggest events of the Christian story so compressed together in the stone tunnels and broadening archways, it seems like an extraordinary Christian convenience store, like Christo Metro... 
In burning daylight the next day back into the narrow confining tunnel-like stone streets of Jerusalem, part bazaar, sometimes walking on shiny rubbed levels of the seven layers of destroyed Jerusalems that are like emerging ribs of the corpse of lost cities, 2000 years old.  
At the top of the narrow walled way that is the Via Dolorosa, we spy a vantage point above us atop the Austrian Hospice, enter in the coolness and climb the stairs of the hushed sanatorium to come out again into the white light on to a wide, flat terrace with a breathtaking David Lean CinemaScope vision of the entire Holy City, astonishingly cramped and crammed, a pressed piling of small rounded cupolas on ancient houses to the dominating Gold of the Dome of the Rock....

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