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Iranian-Israeli play explores human connections in wartime

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Iranian-Israeli play explores human connections in wartime
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An Israeli and an Iranian, performing side by side in a play about war. Sahand Sahebdivani, born in Iran, and Raphael Rodan, raised in Israel play versions of themselves. The piece underlining what unites rather than divides.

"Once you start to work as someone with Iranian background and someone with an Israeli background you see that there are so many points of connection, and so many ways in which we can go on humanistic and artistic level," says Sahand.

"They have so much in common that in a way that separation is artificial underneath there is a field of connection which is very very rich," echoes Raphael.

The play is striking a chord with its audience at Belgium's Theatre National. But it begs the question whether the pair plan to perform it in the Middle East?

"We dreamed of the day that we can also perform in Iran that is the dream we can also perform there on the other hand I think if we ever reach the situation where we can also perform in Iran it means that there is peace then no one wants to see our pieces anymore," replies Sahand. "It would be a disaster for us," adds Raphael, laughing.

The story focuses on why men go to war, and how and even if the women in their lives could stop them. So can culture heal the wounds left by conflict?

"I don’t think art has the power to stop wars on that level ..but it doesn’t something else which from my perspective it leaves little light on, so that we never go into the full darkness," reflects Sahand.

Though the play may hold a plea for peace, it is also intended as a catalyst for creating emotional connections.

"In Hebrew there is a really beautiful statement like in Jewish culture which is: you change one soul you have changed the entire world ... Always when I walked in to the theatre, of course, is for change but it’s not this kind of 'now I m going to change the world' it’s more like 'can I reach you?'"

The play runs until 15 February at Theatre National in Brussels, Belgium.