Three of us staffers are up here this weekend–Hannah, Rebecca, and I–each doing our own thing. I’m here foraging for diamonds in the rough; more like truffles in mud; with two down, one to go, and a wonderful program about environmental conversation efforts in Israel and Jordan put together by my sister and her family soon to come.

Have seen the Israeli play MASKED by Ilan Hatzor, about three Palestinian brothers at the DR2 directed by our friend, Ami Dayan, as well as THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY, a comedy about 6 differently-abled adopted children of widely divergent backgrounds all living under the Indianoapolis roof on an aging Jewish window—a character driven drama by Lloyd Suh at the Mayi Theatre Company, a company dedicated to producing new work by Asian authors. Both plays, on description, might have been not only right for Theater J, but rather “sexy” takes that would have extended and diversified our mission-centered material to new edges. Alas, we won’t be pursuing either. Why not? We’ll get to it.

Tonight it’s the final night of a three week festival of Australian one-acts put up by an enterprising group named The Production Company. Had a good talk with artistic director discussing our involvement not only with Tom Keneally but with Tashmadada and the work new work of Deborah Leiser-Moore whose Australian Jewish take on King Lear (Cordelia, Mein Kinde) we hope to bring here within the coming year. So we’re exploring a mini Australian Festival. As well as a Vaclav Havel Festival, if not next year, then the year beyond that. And don’t forget our interest in celebrating the plays of Howard Zinn. So the good ideas are out there. But how are the plays? Are the plays great? That’s what we’re looking for. As we forage for gold, sifting through the merely decent.

Wonderful dinner with EITHER, OR director Daniel DeRaey last night. We talked of Max Frisch’s The Firebugs, a strong, cautionary tale written by the somewhat forgotten Swiss playwright who seems more than ready to be reconsiderd. So I went onto Amazon and read this rather jaw-dropping Customer/Reader review. Perhaps Max Frisch would be rolling over in his grave were he to read of this interpretation of his allegory.

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The Firebugs: A Morality Without a Moral (Hardcover)
by Max Frisch (Author)

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By J. DeMeo “naturalenergyworks” (Ashland, OR USA) – See all my reviews

Max Frish wrote this book after WW-II, about how his countrymen ignored Hitler until it was too late. It is presented in the metaphor of an arsonist in the neighborhood who comes to live in a house of a certain Mr. Biedermann, who is so concerned about “not appearing unlikeable”, he refuses to believe the new tenant of being the arsonist, in spite of him reeking of gasoline, and storing gasoline in the attic of the house where he stays, and the arsonist’s provocative words and behavior. The arsonist continues asking everyone were he can get gasoline, fuses, matches, etc., saying “you don’t really believe I would do such a thing, do you?” while homes go up in flames — but Biedermann is in denial, and so in the end, his home is filled with barrels of gasoline, and the arsonist asks him for matches… which are freely given. Valid today also, regarding Islam in the West. Europe is in full-tilt denial about the dangers of Islam, and every tiny security measure is treated as an “offense” and so nobody wants to appear “impolite”. Handing over the ports to Dubai, and now the latest news, giving a Chinese company owned by high-up CP officials the job of nuclear security examination of cargoe. Goodness, we don’t wish to upset anyone by suggesting, they might do something bad! Too many Biedermann’s in high-up government postions, and in the mass-media, apologetically ignoring even the guys who reek of gasoline…

More reflections – and fascinating questions raised by the ever-passionate Dan DeRaey in our next posting. As well as some much belated words reporting on the excellent first day, and, well hell, first week, SPEED-THE-PLOW!