The performance: Sold Out. Uproarious laughter in regular intervals for the first 50 minutes. The last 45, not so much. A wonderful discomfort. Or as Israeli “Shaliach” Anton Goodman put it in our post-show discussion when he was the lone panelists as we facilitated a group discussion with the audience, “Is it possible to celebrate and to mourn at the same time? Is it possible to do so–paying respect to each side–without watering down one or the other?” “I revel in that discomfort,” Anton told the audience. And we heard from so many. “I don’t my children seeing this play,” one Israeli mother said, “not until AFTER they’ve finished their military service. They need to be hard.” This play will soften hardened hearts. Even as it will challenge the softened heart with its hard and unwatered down rhetoric. No feel good journey is this Return. But honest. And difficult. And necessary. And eye-opening. Heart-opening too.
As Anton cited the famous poem (but the reference eludes me now–someone please supply) toward the end of the intense discussion, “There’s nothing more complete than a broken heart.”
Much more to be shared. But it’s opening day and night and much to do. So much more soon.