I applaud Theater J for doing what any seriously engaged arts organization should do, which is to present work that asks troubling questions, stirs dialogue, and allows us to better understand positions that may be the opposite of our own. Ari Roth and Theater J have been very explicit in their framing of this work that presenting it does not imply advocacy of its message (or in this case even strong convictions about its effectiveness as art — one of the advantages of its ten-minute format). The fact that two other plays written in response to this play will also be presented testifies both to the Theater’s commitment to engaging a many-sided dialogue and to the impact Churchill’s play is having. Whatever the merits of this play may or may not be, Ms. Churchill is undisputedly one of the leading playwrights of our generation, and the play is being heard, discussed, and commented on around the world. I am grateful that Theater J and Forum Theater will give us a chance to do so here in Washington and to form our own opinion. The impulse to boycott and silence that which troubles, shakes or offends us is a dangerous and narrow one. We can always make the choice as individuals not to attend, but when we start to police that choice for others, there is cause for concern. I am grateful that we as a community will be given the chance to engage in this important and difficult conversation, and to form our own opinions.
Professor Derek Goldman, Ph. D.
Director, Theater and Peformance Studies Program, Georgetown University
Artistic Director, Davis Performing Arts Center