Week in Review (NY Times + Our Times Too)

Amazing articles in the Sunday papers today. Grateful to be able to catch up with things finally. Some thoughts and some links:

Gaza Notebook: The Bullets in My In-Box” by ETHAN BRONNER is an article I responded to and identified with a great deal, as it seems to have summed up my position as a writer/adapter on the ALI SALEM PROJECT. But given the overall integrity of Bronner’s position, and the important work he and other journalists are doing even as they get pilloried on both sides–on all sides–it seems all the more compelling to allow that stranded-in-the-middle interlocutor’s voice to have a place in the story-telling structure of the ALI SALEM narrative, with Ali as the dominant voice. This was the discovery of our brief 12/29/08 reading of new scenes from the project, and it’s what I’m returning to next month in advance of the March reading of the play with Charter Theatre Company. Incorporating the ever-expanding timeline of the work–from Oslo 1994 to Gaza 2009–won’t be as hard as I once thought, especially seeing as how that time management worked out successfully–finally–in PETER… (THE WOLF IN PETER, that is.) Anyway, an article and a conundrum worth contemplating.

And quickly to add that the conversation with EPIC THEATRE’S Zak Berkman was a joyful bounty of good news and great feedback from the 1/18 readings at Manhattan Theatre Club.  Suffice to say, we are moving forward into an ambitious future.

More good links:
Frank Rich on the misbegotten “theatrical criticism” of Obama’s inauguration speech. Essentially saying that the new Prez decided to pullback from the oracular pyrotechnics and go sober, go somber, prepare us for the true challenges that lie ahead and not get too fizzy with celebrity worship; to not lead by virtue of a cult of personality, but to enlist all citizens in a truth campaign based on mature messages from the frontline.

Just as compelling, and important for our theater during our Middle East Festival, is Tom Friedman’s op-ed piece, This Is Not a Test, which has this prophetic line, “So if you believe in the necessity of a Palestinian state or you love Israel, you’d better start paying attention. This is not a test. We’re at a hinge of history.” As my pal Wendy C. Golberg likes to say, “Word.” Word up.

And speaking of theater that speaks of the truth when at war and the challenges of making a socially relevant theater bankable, read “Of War, Peace and Paying Customers” By PATRICK HEALY, which will remind you a lot of our dramas while producing the powerful Bosnian War play, HONEY BROWN EYES, which will be published in February by American Theatre Magazine.

There’s more great stuff on the op-ed page. “A Liberal Translation,” by TIMOTHY GARTON ASH, who also talks of Mr. Obama’s inaugural address which presented, in substance, a blend of classical constitutional and modern egalitarian liberalism. The thing, but never the word. Read about it here.

And before I talk about last night’s amazing run-through of THE ACCIDENT, two last articles in the Business section to commend:

“The Talented Mr. Madoff” by JULIE CRESWELL and LANDON THOMAS Jr. discusses two versions of Bernie Madoff’s life story which have emerged following his arrest: the Wall Street statesman, and the high-finance charlatan. Read about it here

And this piece, which I read with my daughter, is a totally clear presentation of the mess we got into with Credit Default Swaps, and how we get the hell out it too. “Time to Unravel the Knot of Credit-Default Swaps” By GRETCHEN MORGENSON is essential reading that will, alas, make you very angry at how we ever got to this place. All these articles point to a disgust we’ll all be targeting at Wall Street and may help throw interest and energies back onto our nation’s capital and away from a really kind of dangerous and unmoored capitalist seaport, which is to say Lower Manhattan, and who needs it running us into the ground?

Finally, THE ACCIDENT. A totally powerful run-through last night. I said this to the cast and to brilliant director Sinai Peter, just after it was concluded: “You’ve made us see Israel as a metaphor for the human condition.” Now figure that one out.

Or  better, I’ll parse that a bit more next time. Happy Sunday.