By Jack Rico
The 1-4-0: If you’re looking for a political thriller, #OSLO will leave you breathless with its intricate drama, performances and dialogue. Don’t miss out!
The Gist: J.T. Rogers’ play “OSLO” is a behind the scenes, three-hour political thriller about the 1993 peace treaties between the Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization, starring Jennifer Ehle, Jefferson Mays, Anthony Azizi and Michael Aronov.
What works: OSLO is an engaging play with a talented cast and an ever-changing stage design. Terje Rød-Larsen (Jefferson Mays), who planned the meetings between the Israelis and the Palestine Liberation Organization, gives a performance full of raw emotion. Also, kudos to co-star Jennifer Ehle. It’s quite easy to get confused with all of the fast paced political lingo but Ehle, who plays Mona, is the bridge that connects the audience to the events that are happening by breaking the fourth wall. She is also the expediter for the participants in the peace talks, uniting both sides with her diplomacy and tact.
Throughout the play, the audience was engaged, the drama had us sitting at the edge of our seats, eagerly waiting for the next scene. The witty yet dark humor was strategically placed and it never felt forced — the audience understood the jokes and the political references. The Vivian Beaumont Theater is a very intimate theater, no matter where you are seated, you feel as if you’re right on stage in the middle of the action. The stage was visually appealing with the lighting reflecting the tension and intensity of the scenes with hues of fiery red and cooling-blue, as well as the backdrop that showed real-life footage of the violence that was happening in the streets of Gaza.
What Doesn’t Work: Like all things politics, there’s a lot going on in “OSLO”. It gives us more than one complex story that has intricate woven problems from both the Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. With that being said, it’s easy to get lost during the second act of the play since all of the events are unfolding at a rapid pace. There was so much going on, characters talking over each other, rapid scene changes, etc. It was easy for the audience to miss a few details. This is the kind of play that should probably be longer just to make things more clear and easier to understand for the audience.
Curtain Call or House Call: Curtain call. Given it’s minute defects, “OSLO” is the political thriller that will have you entranced and ready to jump out of your seat to give a well-deserved standing ovation. This is a play about culturally diverse people: Norwegians, Israelis, and Palestinians, working out their conflicts and coming together as one. The drama unfolds before your very eyes, and it transports you back in time to the behind the scenes of a historical event that shaped two nations. If you missed its run last year, don’t make that same mistake twice, the last performance will be on June 18th, so don’t miss it.