“Food and Fadwa,” Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kander’s play, directed by Shana Gold and co-presented by New York Theatre Workshop and Noor Theatre, is wonderful, entertaining, funny, moving, and thought-provoking. It’s a well-made family comedy/drama, with familiar archetypes—young lovers, a disapproving father, an unworthy woman coming between the heroine and her man—rendered fresh and nuanced here.
Less centrally, but equally importantly, it’s also a play about Palestinian life in the West Bank under Israeli occupation, demonstrating its challenges and difficulties in theatrical moments that are, in turn, quiet and shocking, hilarious and bitter, and moving. Another way of putting this is that the young lovers face obstacles both from classical comedy (a disapproving father, a rival) and current international-political reality (the groom’s disappearance the day before the wedding, a curfew trapping the family in their home). Their lives are out of their control in more than one way. The play focuses on a family while also dealing with political realities, touching on larger political issues, coexistence, from an authentic-feeling place rooted in traditionally female spaces (home, kitchen) and activities (cooking, caring for family, preparing for a wedding).