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Pat Rowe's play opens in Jerusalem with a young Jewish woman teaching a lonely British military officer how to tango.
This could be the start of any chick-lit drama, except that Jerusalem Tango is set in the King David hotel, where the militant right-wing zionist underground organisation Irgun planted a bomb in 1946 that exploded with the loss of 91 lives.
The hotel, the headquarters of the British Mandate in Palestine, had a bar where tango sessions were held. In Pat Rowe's reading around the subject she noticed that the local Jewish girls would meet the British officers, "sometimes with ulterior motives to get information from them and out of this situation a lot of romances happened."
The decision to tell the story of the 30-year mandate period through the eyes of the young Jewish woman Ziva and the British officer Thomas Wilson gives the play, Rowe's third, the scope to tease out the conflicting loyalties of those who lived and worked in the area.
It was born out of Rowe's personal fascination for the time and "the way the Brits interacted with that rather complex reality," she says. "I'm not a historian so it wasn't that I had some kind of mission to popularise the period or anything."
Period correspondence, which she unearthed at the Middle East Centre in Oxford, proved a useful inspiration too. "People wrote letters in a different way from now," she explains.
"They were very long descriptive letters to their families back home and you get quite a picture of the time."
It was during her research that she came across an article about a British officer who was killed in a terrorist incident. At his funeral was a local Jewish girl, part of a very prominent socialist Russian family.
"Somebody noticed that she was there and that they'd had this great love affair," she says "That sparked off the idea about this couple."
Her interest in the personal and the minutiae of everyday life is evident in an early scene where administrator Sir Henry Gordon complains about a broken fan in his office - a metaphor for so much else in the struggling administration he tries to serve.
Later he reminisces about the Ramle Vale Hunt, where the British chased jackals in the Jordan Valley in an attempt to "recreate their colonial lifestyle in the Middle East."
And there's a railway manager who is constantly exasperated by acts of sabotage that stop the trains running, a reminder of Britain's infrastructure-building of railways, roads and post office along with the introduction of a legal system during the mandate period.
It's hard not to draw parallels between that referencing and British forces attempting similar things in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Now that I've written it I can see that there are very interesting correspondences," admits Rowe. "I'm sure that although people don't call it colonial, there are colonial attitudes that linger in all of those situations."
These period details and end-of-empire sentiments are almost exclusively located in the script and the play's minimalist setting makes it easily adaptable for radio.
That's exactly what happened with Rowe's debut play Toad, aired on BBC Radio 4 with Imelda Staunton in the title role, and it's tempting to imagine who could be cast as the young couple in Jerusalem Tango, a love story which starts with an ulterior motive but ends with a very different kind of relationship.
Jerusalem Tango runs at the The Carriageworks in Leeds until May 26 (box office: 0113-224-3801) then tours nationally.