from David Cords…
Argentina by Boaz Gaon has many parallels to his work Return to Haifa.
There are instances of time change where the play moves between two
different time periods. Also, both pieces have a focus on children
and their parents. To be honest, I actually enjoyed Argentina more
than Return to Haifa. Don’t get me wrong, I think both plays were
great. However, I am more familiar with the premise of Argentina;
that is to say, I know more about the Dirty War of Argentina more than
the Six Day War. I think my understanding of the background and
history of Argentina during ~1975-1983 helped me appreciate this story
a little more.
I thought the story of Argentina was a lot more “raw” in terms of
darkness, which made the script more appealing to me. As a 21 year
old college student I am probably more inclined to enjoy rated-R
material opposed to rated-PG 13 or rated-G. The story shows a darker
side of a conflict than Return to Haifa. The soldier Julio probably
portrays what an Argentinean soldier was like during the time period.
The scene where Arie goes to the detainment quarters to speak with
Jonathan Kahan and the soldier treats a diplomat of another country
with such disregard is scary to think about. The corruption of the
government and what people will do in a position of power is
mind-boggling. To think a man would go to an Israeli Ambassador and
say, “Repeat after me. Heil Hitler” is chilling. I felt that this
story showed what the effects of a serious conflict can have on people
from various sides and positions.
Like the blog posts about Return to Haifa, I am sure a good portion of
people may question Arie and think “how could he do that?” My first
reaction was along those lines, but as I thought about it,and realized
not everything is “hunky dory” in the world. You can never make
everyone happy. I have never been in a situation quite like Arie
Shalev, but I do believe we all have had or will have extremely
difficult and life changing decisions during our lifetimes. Looking
back, some may have regrets. However, the current times play a major
role in decisions. I found myself not asking “How could he do what he
did?” But more “What pressures was he feeling at the time?” I tried
coming from his perspective and realized if my life was threatened or
I was given orders from powerful governmental leaders of power, I
probably would do what I was told or what appeased my superiors.
Reading the script can get confusing at times with the changing of
time periods while trying to imagine everything in your head. I found
myself re-reading pages but that’s because I wanted to get the story
right. In the end, I enjoyed the story very much. I thought the
relationship between Arie and Avital was somewhat hard to believe once
revealed (but I do understand this is a play) and some of the
transitions did not make sense to me with Avital watching the past as
if she was in the room (like Scrooge with the 3 spirits in A Christmas
Carol) but the content and “meat and potatoes” of Argentina was
extremely gripping and I really enjoyed reading it.