Play explores controversial story of Israel youth

Samantha Juric

The road is long and it leaves no survivors.

In a world that is rooted in perpetual conflict, the future is bleak and can cause its youth to wonder how or why they should go on.

Life is a never-ending marathon.

This is the modern Israeli plight.

Or at the very least it is what the performance piece Marathon attempted to capture at the Progress Festival: International Festival of Performances and Ideas.

The marathon is 8 km long to be exact.

This is the distance the performers jog throughout the 60-minute show written and directed by Aharona Israel.

The show tries to drive home the conflict-filled story of Israeli youth.

The claustrophobic concept is intriguing where life is a marathon in which you cannot escape and there is no choice but to keep going.

But could the piece ever have conveyed the full extent of the struggle of Israeli youth without talking about the struggles that Palestinian youth endure?

When we talk about Israel aren’t we also talking about Palestine and are the arts the best platform to talk about conflict?

“History has always shown that art has been a form for oppressed or underprivileged people to have their voice heard,” said Taha Ali, 20, the president of Humber’s Muslim Student Association.

Ali explains that the underprivileged and oppressed voice can be found in rap music in urbanized areas just as it has been traditionally found in other forms of art like poetry.

From Tolstoy to John Lennon to Gertrude Stein to Hannah Arendt to Naguib Mahfouz, war and conflict have always been aired out in the arts through plays, literature, music and film.

Art gives people the ability to speak about conflict in a way that doesn’t leave you as vulnerable to prejudice or violence, said Hassan Elbaytam, 24, an Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology student at Humber.

“There is always going to be people who disagree and would like to bring up both sides. You should be able to talk about each individual side without having to bring up the whole story,” said Rob Klopot, 24, a Humber Recreation and Leisure student.