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10/05/2016
Article
Istijmam: Et'teffeh/The Apples

A husband goes in search of an apple — a luxury import in Algeria — for his pregnant wife's cravings, only to be outright refused by the well-stocked apple seller. An actor, on the outs at the state-run theater, finds himself rehearsing Julius Caesar in a public toilet. These two men, frustrated by the difficulties of their everyday lives, find common ground in the search for freedom and democracy in the satirical work Et'teffeh/The Apples. In its American debut, Algerian experimental theater troupe Istijmam uses absurdism and dark humor to address the political and social struggles of Algeria in the aftermath of the 1988 uprising and subsequent civil war. Istijmam blends a minimalist aesthetic with an interactive and improvisational approach; the goal of The Apples is not to didactically explain Algerian life but to get the audience to feel the political complexities of the culture. Performed in English and Arabic.