Your Love Is Fire @ Summerhall
Your Love Is Fire's impact is blunted by its cast's visa issues, but remains worth a watch
Like many shows across Summerhall’s Arab Arts Focus programme, Your Love Is Fire faced an unanticipated disaster when half of the cast members had their visas refused. The remaining members of the production team from Collective Encounter / Collective Ma’Louba have chosen to stage a bare-bones version of the play rather than cancel it, and this note of defiance underpins the performance.
The play is understandably compromised by the heavy last-minute editing that the producers were forced to undertake, but it’s still possible to get a sense of playwright Mudar Alhaggi’s impressive and challenging material. Focusing on the problem of being exiled both physically from one’s home, and psychologically from knowing when and how to take a stand in a conflict that destroys lives from the inside out, Your Love Is Fire tells the story of a writer telling the story of individuals locked in paralysis as war rages around them. Personal loyalties and priorities reach an impasse, and the tension and despair of this situation are palpable in the performance, even if the details of the plot are muddled.
The production is aided by its affecting use of multimedia elements and stark set design, which convey with shocking immediacy the violence that permeates the lives of Syrian residents and continues to resonate in the minds of refugees. Overall, the performance offers a convincing taster of a new play with great promise, made all the more powerful and significant by our society’s attempts to silence refugee voices. Worth seeing as an act of solidarity, as much as for the play itself.