Is Osama a hero? That's the provocative beginning of a new play about the "war on terror".
A SCHOOL assignment asks students to name a contemporary hero who is prepared to give up personal wealth for what he believes in and is inspirational to many people.
The show, with a cast of five, now comes to La Mama with the stated aim of getting audiences to consider some of the implications of the so-called "war on terror".
"It's a deliberately provocative title designed to shock us into action," says the play's director, Syd Brisbane. "Dissent about what's happening is hard to find. You need strength and purpose to keep the debate moving forward."
The play functions as a microcosm of the world after the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington, with violence now much more paramount.
Gary, played by Xavier Samuel, is the student who believes in honesty and names Osama bin Laden as his modern hero. This results in him being seized by people from the housing estate where he lives, and bound and gagged.
Bins and garages have been blowing up on the estate and Gary gets the blame. The playwright, whose earlier play Debris was performed in Melbourne last year, described Osama as a "brutal play" that expressed his own confusion about the state of the world.
Brisbane says it is quite political, with Gary's plight used to symbolise that of others accused of terrorism. "When he says there is no proof against him, he's told the evidence isn't necessary in dealing with terrorists."
Funny how things like this are always labeled as "provocative".
Of course, it turns Osama bin Laden into a moral hero, and his supporters are people who are oppressed and believe in "honesty". Not terrorists, oh no -- the big, mean, USA is the real terrorist. We don't really catch "terrorists", we catch innocent people who are only expressing themselves by blowing themselves and other people up, and acting out against American oppression. We should look up to them -- better yet, let's just all do what they say, and convert to Islam and live under Shariah law! They're good, honest people with our best intentions in mind, right? Right?
Unfortunately, this is nowhere near out of the ordinary for the liberal arts community. Art today is no longer about making beautiful, meaningful works of art to inspire others. It is meant to offend and disgust the average person. If decent Americans are not outraged, then they haven't done their job.
And this is just another example.
Expect a glowing review from the New York Times -- perhaps Maureen Dowd could gush over how hot she thinks "Gary" is the way she gushes over how hot Eminem is -- any day now.
Hat Tip: MoonBattery