“It’s complicated,” Aaron Davidman announces at the top of “Wrestling Jerusalem.” He’s going for a laugh, but also giving fair warning to his audience: Don’t expect easy answers over the course of the next 80 minutes.
Indeed, as Davidman’s solo show plays out on an empty stage, his personal odyssey becomes a powerful portrait of complexity. This first offering in the Guthrie’s Singular Voices/Plural Perspectives performance series explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Davidman recounts his first visit to Israel to study Torah and subsequent journeys that encompassed Ramallah, the Dead Sea and Hebron as well as Jerusalem, he deftly conjures more than a dozen characters, each with a unique viewpoint.
A kaleidoscope of stories from men, women, Jews, Muslims, soldiers, farmers, United Nations workers and more jostle against one another as each reveals a tiny glimpse of the larger picture. Davidman is a riveting performer and with subtle direction from Michael John Garcés and fluid choreography by Stacey Printz he creates an astonishingly vivid sense of place and mood as the play leaps continents and locales.
Allen Willner’s lighting design turns the simple backdrop into a glowing palette of ever-changing color and depth in concert with Davidman’s chameleon-like quick transformation from character to character. This is a thoughtfully wrought piece that spills beyond the bounds of personal storytelling to express universal questions about identity and human connection.
7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri.; 1 & 7:30 p.m. Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Nov. 1 • Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls. • $26-$32 • 612-377-2224 or guthrietheater.org