Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings: A Play
Co-authors: Marcus Youssef and Guillermo Verdecchia.
Vancouver, B.C.: Talonbooks, 2013.
PS8605 .H332 A55 2013
Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)
Following the election of U.S. president Barack Obama in 2008, collective optimism for a more tolerant, peaceful, and co-operative post- Bush world spreads to Canada – and to the backroom of Salim’s Falafel Shoppe in Toronto. There, Ali Hakim and Ali Ababwa, refugee entertainers from the fictitious, war-torn country of Agraba, are inspired to write a stage play in celebration of the new president’s message of “hope and change.” The premiere of their Yo Mama, Osbama! (or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Half-Black President) halts abruptly when an RCMP constable arrives at the theatre and arrests the pair for its financial ties to the Agrabanian People’s Front, an alleged “terrorist organization” on the Canadian government’s watch list.
Continuity becomes more apparent than change when Ali and Ali are swiftly put on trial. As the hapless playwrights try to defend themselves in the farcical deportation hearing that unfolds, racial and cultural stereotypes are invoked – and lampooned – as quickly as dubious evidence is presented. But, in the midst of the biting comedy, more serious questions are raised about the cost for some when we endeavour to protect the “freedoms” of others