In her one-woman show, gifted writer and solo performer Iris Bahr poignantly illustrates how infinitesimally fragile the line is between life and death. The piece takes place in a Tel Aviv cafe minutes before a suicide bombing. The cafe hosts an international clientele: an American actress filming a love story involving (ironically) a Palestinian suicide bomber; a gay German man stalking his Israeli ex-lover; a partisan Jewish settler; a mother of young children, rabid in her support of Israeli hegemony at the expense of Palestinian claims. Bahr portrays 10 loquacious individuals in all, each monologue concluding midsentence, as the bomb detonates, obliterating the life of the person we've come to know intimately in just a few moments. Embedded in each portrait are the irony and humor that come from the human tendency to perceive the world narrowly, through one's self-interest. Several elements detract from the production, however: a tendency toward sameness in the clipped tempo of each monologue, and the awkward staging of the explosion at the end of each sequence, consisting of a loud noise and the unconvincing response of the performer, as he/she collapses. While a director is credited for the original staging, none is mentioned here. What's necessary in order to realize the drama's latent power is a director with a sensibility as nuanced as Bahr's own. Lillian Theater, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Feb. 15. (323) 960-4410; www.plays411.com/dai.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 29. Continues through Feb. 15, 2009