A hotel room in the middle of a divided desert. Outside, a bustling market. Inside, Aziz and Saira are plotting to rescue their mother from the far side of the border. Forced to use a megaphone to speak to her across no man’s land, they invent codes to trick the soldiers who watch over them. But when time comes for confrontation, nothing is quite what it seems. Their conversation reopens old wounds and reawakens traumatic memories. Who is rescuing whom?
Hard Places was first developed as part of the Writers’ Bloc programme in 2004. The play then had a successful staged reading at the Les Eurotopiques festival in Lille, France in May 2010. The festival consisted of 8 pieces from around the globe, all concerned with the theme and question of borders. In 2012 it was staged at The Mercury Theatre in Cochester and at the Prithvi Festival in Mumbai as a co-production with Tinderbox, UK. The production was directed by London director, Chris White.
“The premise is brilliant and still simple. Set in an unnamed space, the play is set in the Shouting Valley in the Golan Heights, in which a border fence erected by Israel divides Syrian-held territory from Israeli-held territory annexed by it during the Six Day War of 1967. Families divided by the fence stand a few hundred metres away from each other and speak to each other through megaphones, unable to cross the no-man’s-land that divides them. The sheer promise of this foundation is enough to set the imagination astir. Sorabjee sharply develops the potential of this situation with three unusual characters. The dialogue is taut, particularly in the intricately crafted megaphone exchanges that must incorporate always the several threads of conversation that emerge simultaneously between three characters who cannot always hear each other.” – The Sunday Guardian