Best Play You Didn't See - 2007
Beautiful Resistance: Confessions of a Hoosier in Palestine
On a wintry February night, for one performance only (and one not very well promoted, at that), Magan Wiles made theater in a Saint Louis University classroom. There was no stage, no real lights to speak of (other than turning them on and off). But the small crowd in attendance was treated to a rare evening of authentic, been-there, done-that drama as Wiles chronicled how she spent last summer living in refugee camps in Palestine. Some of the hour was first-person narrative, some of her accounts played out in humorous sketches performed in tandem with actress Sara Wall. While in the Middle East, Wiles didn't meet the people who are adept at giving interviews and talking into television cameras. Instead she swept us into a checkpoint world most of us cannot easily comprehend and, once exposed to, cannot forget. When Wiles' new friend Fayrouz stopped giggling, singing and planning her wedding long enough to moan, "I hate this place," the poignancy of that young wasted life bereft of a future struck the viewer like a slap in the face. This play deserves a continued life and a wider audience.