The Playgoer: Yes, I did see the Caryl Churchill reading at New York Theatre Workshop...

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Yes, I did see the Caryl Churchill reading at New York Theatre Workshop...

...but life & responsibilities won't slow down enough these days to give it proper attention. Plan to do so by the end of the week, definitely.

Meanwhile, here are some folks who thankfully have given it attention:

Washington's Theatre J has not only been doing their own presentation but features lots about the play on their own blog, including an interview with the playwright herself. Then the company's director Ari Roth had to sit through a grilling from the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg who, um, doesn't care for the play. (hint: his post's title is: "Caryl Churchill: Gaza's Shakespeare, or Fetid Jew-Baiter?")

Philip Weiss (who covered the NYTW/"Rachel Corrie" story for the Nation back in '06) went to the first night of NYTW's reading.

David Cote was there with me on the second.

Tony Kushner & Alisa Solomon not only moderated at NYTW the night I went but also have a cover story in the current Nation with their responses to the play. I'm waiting for time to sit down with this, too, and will respond. But go ahead and read it--not only because the authors are of note but any time we have theatre on the cover of a news magazine, it's a must-read!

And then there' If you went, let us know what you thought.

1 comment:

Theater of Ideas said...

I actually blogged about it ( Weiss quotes me a bit incorrectly and terms my objection to the play "emotional and afraid". I have to disagree (ss you might expect). Yes, I think emotion plays into everyone's reactions, and I think it would be disingenuous to pretend that anyone in the room lacked at least some emotion (Weiss included, I'm sure).

But the emotion I felt when speaking wasn't fear - it was more frustration with the the way the discussion was being handled - that evening, it seemed to me that the moderator was using the forum as a patronizing lecture, rather than trying to listen to what people were saying. The implication was, see, I just told what to believe, NOW WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT??? She kept repeating "there are facts", then reciting them, as if the facts she chose to recite were neutral, and that there was only one possible conclusion from any rational person. It is comforting to believe that the Israel question is simple, and that any rational human would see things the same way, if they could only see the light. But like all great problems, it is enormously complex

I was expecting a true discussion. I was disappointed. From David Cote's experience the second night, it sounds very different. Kushner and Solomon are also on one side of the issue, but I suspect they knew how to moderate better.

There is an assumption (I have seen this with others besides myself), that when someone objects to the play or point out its deficits, that they have a simplistic view of the Israeli situation. Or a simplistic view of what constitutes anti-Semitism, another very complex and involved question. But that is not true, and a way of shutting down debate. In fact, that sort of dismissal is a response I would call "emotional and afraid."