Sam Khalilieh is not kidding when he says Palestineman, produced by symbols and details theatre playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a lecture no one asked for. Although he gets behind a podium with water and lecture notes, from there the show really doesn’t resemble your undergraduate sociology class.
Intersectionality is a buzz word right now that everyone likes to say, but which most don’t like to understand. Without ever using that word, Khalilieh breaks this complex concept down in his monologue cum lecture with the simple question: Who is history’s biggest bitch?
If you’re wondering where my eyebrow raise is at an Arab man parsing down and popularizing a concept developed by Black feminist scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw without giving credit where credit is due: he takes the wind out of the sails of that argument by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Listen to Black women” throughout the talk. In fact, Black women are discussed with unusually truthful candor.
It was clear some audience members were uncomfortable, which was appropriate. They were also engaged. I laughed out loud along with my fellow audience members at several points. While some of the saltier jokes landed and served the objectives of the piece, some of them felt thrown in for shock value solely, which the show didn’t need.
It was apparent from the flow of the lecture that Khalilieh is not a linear thinker. I was powerfully reminded of the lecture style of one my undergraduate Fine Arts professors — a draft dodger who had clearly done copious drugs in the 60s. I was able to go with this flow most of the time, but it left the point of the piece somewhat unfocused.
Definitely worth seeing if you’ve been struggling to wrap your head where all this protest and angst you’ve been seeing in the media is coming from. Also, he should consider selling those t-shirts before and after the show. I would have bought one.
- Palestineman plays at the Tarragon Extraspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Unsuitable for Minors.
- This venue is barrier-free. Patrons who use wheelchairs or who cannot climb stairs are seated in the front row.
- Wednesday July 5th, 08:00 pm
- Friday July 7th, 10:15 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 01:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 06:00 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 03:45 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 12:15 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 08:45 pm
Photo provided by company