Knock Knock at Etecetera Theatre

  • Theatre
Knock Knock at Etecetera Theatre


Thu, 03/11/2016 - 16:53


Niv Petel in Knock Knock Photo: Chris Gardner
Niv Petel in Knock Knock. Photo: Chris Gardner
03 November, 2016

GRIMACING and groaning at the beginning and end of this one hour play, a Jewish mother sews with an imaginary needle. It's tough work piercing a cloth as coarse as hide.

Is she sewing her own eyes up to mask her tears, or is she closing up the Tachrichim shroud that will bury her Son?

Israeli Niv Petel's one-man, gender blind role, mixes mime and movement, with monologue that really does feel as if someone else is in the room, and 'she' is talking to them.

Petel plays young mother, Ilana, who's a family liaison officer for the Israeli Defence Force.

It's her job to confront bereaved parents, who've lost sons in combat.

Theirs are dead, while Ilana's only child, is safe at play. And with the laws surrounding Israeli conscription – an only child means a desk job role.

There's the mimicry of a machine churning out weapons, and Petel's poor machine gun sound effects – which is the only downside of this excellent play.

And they are the only reference to war.

Perhaps that's just as well. 

Knock Knock doesn't bulldoze down settlements, lest their be door banging on Etcetera's door step, such are some feelings out there.

It is simply a sensitively rendered play that focuses on a mother's love for her son.

Petel effortlessly shifts between scenes, which go from crib to teenage boy. 

But, we eventually witness Ilana's own morbid fears for 'Elad' when he tells her he wants to join a combat unit - and unsurprisingly, she won't let him.

The set is spartan and the props are all white. 

Everything is white – perhaps heavenly so, as if that's where we are. 

A laundry basket becomes a chicken coop and then an ice cream freezer, as Elad grows from the realistic baby portrayed through the stiff towel bundle, to the young soldier.

Sunglasses and a book are white, for Mother and son holiday, while a mobile phone stands in a cradle for news of when he will be home. 

There's an empty white cup and saucer, and Petel manages to sip tea effortlessly from that. But, each sip becomes more fraught at the fear of the knock on the door.

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