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New York | 2h 0m | Already closed

The Siege

From 12 critic and 8 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

About the show

The Freedom Theater presents this passionate retelling of the story of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, during the height of the second intifada. More…

Drawn from interviews with survivors, 'The Siege' is told from the point of view of some of the armed Palestinian fighters who found refuge in the church. Along with 200 civilians, they were given sanctuary by the church’s resident priests and nuns and spent 39 days there with dwindling food, water, and medical supplies. While the world watched, the fighters grappled with survival, ideology, and the decision to continue the struggle to the end, or surrender. Performed in Arabic with English subtitles.


"'The Siege' is muddled, as both agitprop and drama. That may be a good thing, for as a work of human interest on a canvas of exposed nerves, the play has its compelling moments...The script and the direction are diffuse and undifferentiated, the personalities of each character not so much ill-defined as interchangeable...The play feels seriously underpopulated...I left feeling neither outraged nor radicalized, but only deeply dispirited. I think that’s as it should be." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"“A gutsy play...There are moments between cultures which are truly poignant and thought provoking. Yet for all the humanity at stake, it is challenging to follow the narrative...It would have been helpful to offer more background and context within the production itself...On technical levels, 'The Siege' surpasses many Broadway quality shows...In spite of the shortcomings, one must admire the audacious spirit that inspires these artists and this company.” Full Review

The New York Times

"This study of soldiers waiting out the standoff with diminishing supplies and stamina takes a naturalistic and overtly didactic approach...Dialogue that emphasizes exposition and theme over individual character...Despite the intrinsic suspense of the setup and the likability of the performers, ‘The Siege’ often registers as sincere but static, like an animated chapter from a partisan history book.” Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"The focus is on the emotions of the six men in the church, which makes it more important that the characters be fleshed out. But there are only a few tantalizing moments when their individuality emerges...The competent stagecraft goes only so far in driving the play forward; the few vivid attempts at specific characterization suggest how much deeper a drama 'The Siege' could have been." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production “A passionate, unashamedly partisan and ultimately affecting retelling of the story of the 2002 siege…This is not the greatest of plays: there is little individual characterization…the action sometimes stutters and lacks fluidity…Even so, it develops into an unexpectedly compelling theatrical experience with a rough and ready energy, and, in the very act of its telling, speaks for the voiceless and forgotten. It also raises some knotty philosophical questions.” Full Review

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to learn a little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Don't see it if you're looking to be deeply moved or get a new perspective from Palestinians

Cast & Creatives (16)