A Palestinian/Lebanese production which marries traditional folk-dance with cutting contemporary commentary, ‘The Rooster and Partial Memory’ is a resounding success and an hour spent in the presence of truly gifted performers.
A poem sits on every seat in the theatre as you enter, ‘The Rooster and the Dictator’ by Nizar Qabbani.It links the violent ascent of tyrannical men to the intentional erasure of culture, language and human rights. This striking criticism of Israeli occupation, alongside other regional troubles in the Levant, is sure to ruffle a few feathers for its unapologetic directness, yet ‘The Rooster and Partial Memory’ is an appeal against the essential inhumanity of conflict rather than an express or specific critique of a single violent moment in human history.
‘The Rooster’ begins the show, a piece roughly half an hour in length which examines the struggle for power and the way in which chauvinism and violence shatter the lives of so many. Staged very simply with only single a rope as a prop, ‘The Rooster’ wastes not a step or sinew on the stage. The troupe are evidently well rehearsed and work together with a clear chemistry, moving across the stage both as individuals and as a single organic body.
Partial Memory closes the performance, much shorter than ‘The Rooster’ but in many ways its brevity only adds to the impact. Visceral, captivating, and heartrending, several audience members were in tears at the piece’s climax. I cannot recommend this show enough, even if you are a stranger to physical theater or dance you must try and find time for this production.
A powerful statement against violence which tears both families and nations apart, ‘The Rooster and Partial Memory’ does more with movement than many could hope to match in words.