neworldtheatre: Ali & Ali to the rescue? by Craig Snyder
May 17, 2007
Laughter with a sting. In the case of The Adventures of Ali & Ali ”¦, the sting often goes too deep to remain subversive or affect change.
Cultural production that brings socio-political concerns to the surface is a welcome change from the patriotic-panic currently found in the arts. The Adventures of Ali and Ali ”¦ often find a strategic and seamless middle ground where wit, writing and performance allow the audience to question the horrific reality of what it means to be implicated in this new hybrid of colonialism/imperialism
/missionary power that is supported by our passivity and silence.The trouble with cultural activism, and comedy in particular, is that entertainment often comes before content. While this is an important aspect of winning the audience over, it's often the undoing of underlying intent. The jokes from Ali and Ali became increasingly difficult to stomach when pointed directly at the Other. As a result, the critical voice that is inherent in neworldtheatre's work becomes diffused and practically dissolves all together.Yet, even though I spent the evening laughing in only a couple of places, I was mesmerized by how the rest of the audience was enjoying the show from curtain to curtain. Laughter was everywhere and clearly the entertainment did not suffer at the hand of content.So in the end, I believe I'm too critical about such things and more then anything else, I need to value the few attempts within the arts to question the wars and to bring some element of humanity to the entertainment of the masses. With this in mind, it is not lost on me that, once again, the Canadians come to the rescue.