OSLO: Back-Channel Meetings, ask the Question, What is a Lie?

Oslo is amazing! We could stop this review and save you time to get your tickets for the Timeline Theatre Company release at The Broadway Playhouse. But if you could spare about five minutes, we will share why and enlighten you about a historical story written by Tony Award-winning J.T. Rogers; Oslo. Part fictional, Oslo is a true-life secret, behind-closed-door negotiation between Israel and the PLO; Palestinian Liberation Organization. In the 1990's tension between them were at an all-time high which brings about an unprecedented, actual events regarding the efforts of two government diplomats of Norway, Mona Juul and her husband, Terje Rød-Larsen, who is a sociologist, unsanctioned organized meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1993. 

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However, in Oslo, we learn even more fact or fictional beginnings of the meeting where Israel has two economic professors meet with a Qurie. During what can be called nothing more than a "Pow-wow," session between battling factions, these group of men starts covertly meeting while another sanction meeting was taking place. Like most deals where men are involved, there is going to be some puffed up, pushing out of the chest, too proud to concede back and forth, give and take moments that can lead to neither the success or failure within negotiations. When things escalate, the PLO leader, Ahmed Qurie, demands that Israel bring in authorized government official that could speak for Rabin. In comes, Uni Savir (Jed Feder) and the heated exchange between the two begins. The Palestinian people wanted the PLO as their recognized voice. Israel would agree, only if the PLO recognized the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Other men get involved with the secret session to etched out the details even before Rabin and Arafat, and the battlegrounds are set over who are the real sons of Jerusalem. 

In an interview, Larsen is known to say, "Everyone is scrambling around trying to do the possible, but sometimes it's easier to do the impossible," when discussing the Oslo Accords. Oslo's success broader on developing trust through sitting, eating, and working together on a common goal; Peace. These secret meetings ultimately lead to men that once hated each other, learning to become friends after they witness they have much more in common than that which divided them. 

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Director, Nick Bowling has an excellent job setting up the storyline which had to be captivating, exciting with a hint of misery and charm to keep the audience engage for close to three hours; counting intermission. All of the actors performed well in their roles; however, Scott Pattinson as Terje Rød-Larsen, Jed Feder as Uri Savir, Anish Jethmalani as Ahmed Qurie and Ron E. Rains in his duel role as Yair Hirschfeld and Shimon Peres had note-worthy performances. Pattinson performed exceptionally as Terje. Terje persuasive, never wanting to let talks that many believed to be dead on arrival, could be seen through Pattinson convincing portrayal of Terje. His humor with lines like, "Sometimes we are the pigeon, and sometimes you are the statue," and his ability to understand that what men start together they finish together patience when Savir challenges his manhood was first-rate. 

The star of the play, by far was Bri Sudia. Sudia role is Monu Juul was Tony Award, caliber and she should be recognized for her superlative performance. She is intelligent, determined, witty, and the brains and savor of the Oslo coup. The real Mona Juul was recently elected as President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization. 

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Rogers was intrigued by the political drama of the story and unlikely events of enemies coming together for change. The meeting had two goals that both sides came in good faith and that they understood and agreed that an agreement could be reached. These secret meetings ultimately lead to men that once hated each other, learning to become friends after witness they have much more in common than that which divided them. 

Larsen, who moved to Cairo with his wife Mona Juul, who worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway spent time working on living conditions on the West Bank of Gaza. During these studies, he became troubled by the on-going conflicts between Israel and the PLO that lead to him working with the secret negotiations between the two sovereign nations.  

T.J. Rogers was intrigued by the political drama of the story and unlikely events of enemies coming together for change. Rogers and Larsen's connection is said to have occurred through a mutual acquittance, where Rogers learned of the back-channel negotiations and took an interest. 

Oslo is a story about the unlikely friendships, quiet heroics, and sheer determination that pushed two foes to reach something neither thought truly possible-peace. It's also a story where two people, (Mona and Terje) outside of the conflict between Israel and the PLO decision to leap into a dangerous situation which could have been disastrous for Norway if discovered or failed; just because they believe humanity and realizes" it's not about you!" Bravo! Gjorder en fantastisk job!

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Situations between the two nations are still contentious with killings and bombing years after the call for Peace. The International Peace Institute, IPI wrote a comprehensive book called The Search for Peace on finding the way to Peace in the Middle East; which continues to be one of the significant challenges of international diplomacy. The Search for Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict is a comprehensive volume of all relevant documents on the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past century. Will there ever be "True" Peace? The most profound line in the play may be the most truthful. "What is a lie but a dream that could come TRUE!

نصلي من أجل السلام الحقيقي

Nasli min 'ajl alsalam alhaqiqii … We pray for true Peace.   

Let's Play 'Highly Recommends' OSLO!

TIMELINE THEATRE COMPANY’S
CHICAGO PREMIERE OF TONY AWARD®- WINNING OSLO
AT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO’S
BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE AT WATER TOWER PLACE
By J.T. Rogers
Directed by: Nick Bowling+, SDC
September 18th - October 20th

 

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