Reviewed by Paula Citron
Cahoots Theatre Company
Written by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef
Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia and Soheil Parsa
Starring Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcus Youssef, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Anita Majumdar
Factory Studio Theatre, Sept. 28 to Oct. 17, 2010
Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings is the new play by Vancouver-based satirists Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef, who were inspired by the entrenchment of anti-terror fear-mongering by the Conservative government in Ottawa. (The play mentions that Stephen Harper looks like a manager at Tim Horton’s.)
The characters of Ali Hakim (Verdecchia) and Ali Ababwa (Youssef) are straight out of Hollywood stereotypes with their cloying subservience. The Ali’s are refugee claimant entertainers from the fictional country of Agraba, currently a war zone.
They are attempting to put on a play when their performance is halted by the arrival of Mountie Sukhvinder Dhaliwal (Anita Majumdar). What follows is an often laugh out loud deportation hearing that is a series of ludicrous cross purposes. The Mountie asks pointed questions about the Ali’s behaviour, which the Ali’s dodge.
This satire may be very funny, but it is also deeply troubling.