Three women—one an MBA student in her early 30s, one a painter and real estate agent in her 40s, and the eldest a stay-at-home wife and mother in her 50s—hang out in the kitchen and debate relationships while the men linger offstage. So far, so familiar. But the twist in Fouad Teymour’s Twice, Thrice, Frice, now in a world premiere with Silk Road Rising and the International Voices Project, is that the sticking point in the relationship debate is whether polygamy (that is, for men) is something devout Muslim wives should accept.
The youngest, Samara (Marielle Issa), argues strenuously for the acceptance of the practice. Atheist Amira (Catherine Dildilian), who finds her spirituality in Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, resents the aspersions Samara casts against nonbelievers, while Khadija (Annalise Raziq) seems content with her role as the wife of an academic. But when a plot twist takes the debate beyond the realm of the purely theoretical, Teymour’s comedy takes on sharper elbows. However, subsequent developments begin to feel predictable, even as the trio of actors at the center of it find many moments of honesty and wit in Patrizia Acerra’s staging.
Issa has the toughest job, as Samara’s piousness seems tailor-made to set her up for a fall. Dildilian is excellent as a woman whose childhood in Iraq seems far away, but who can never forget the upheavals and violence there (in part because her husband’s work with Doctors Without Borders takes him there). And Raziq is delightful as a woman who finds her loyalties tested in many directions and ends up finding the strength to be loyal to her own heart. v