Caught Between Two Worlds

I think some apologies are in order. We certainly did not mean to leave our e-audience without anything to read. We wanted to keep you informed of all of our comings and goings but sometimes it is hard to keep up. So, on behalf of the blogging staff of Theater J, I apologize.

This past week has been very busy. As the title of the post implies we are between two worlds at the moment.  We are still in Germany in the 1930s and 40s watching tragedies unfold and now we also find ourselves in the West Bank in the year 2012.

Rehearsals are underway right now for Pangs of the Messiah. This week we have been joined by Israeli director Sinai Peter and playwright Motti Lerner. As we’ve started digging into this powerful play I am struck more and more by how difficult the situation is. It was obvious how much so Thursday as the playwright joined us and detailed why he wanted this show done now in this city. The play is a true product of Israel. It’s the desperation of the Israeli Left. It’s Motti’s cry to the Jews of America to question where their support goes. It’s a fear of where Israel is heading.

As I was preparing some dramaturgical work to give to the actors I reread Lech-Lecha (Genesis 12:1-3):

The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”

This is the beginning of a basis, a claim for God-given land. Funny how so few words can have such a huge impact on generations. And I know I’m being simplistic and of course the claim is also built on historical facts, I’m not saying this is it but this is the beginning, this is the root.

The floor of the set has written out in Hebrew this biblical passage. Because it is the root. When this family tries to hold onto their land they know the land they set foot on is the land that God promised Abram. They know the line from Abram to themselves. Everyday their feet are on history and blessings.

This play is devastating. Particularly now as we look back on 40 years of occupation.  But I am so proud that Theater J and the wonderful artists we have here are working on it.