Bintel Blog

Controversy Surrounds ‘Seven Jewish Children’

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

  • Print
  • Share Share

The New York Theatre Workshop will stage three readings of the British playwright Caryl Churchill’s 10-minute play, “Seven Jewish Children” — a quickly written response to the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza.

When the play debuted in February at London’s famous Royal Court Theatre, it had some critics swooning; it has others up in arms. John Nathan of London’s Jewish Chronicle, for one, wrote: “[F]or the first time in my career as a critic, I am moved to say about a work at a major production house that this is an anti-Semitic play.”

In seven abrupt scenes, Jewish elders construct disparate versions of past events including the Holocaust, the founding of the state of Israel, the first Palestinian uprising and recent event in Gaza. Most lines of the play begin with “Tell her” or “Do not tell her” — a device that, while perhaps effective, may also grate at the ear in mere minutes.

“Seven Jewish Children” isn’t the only recent British production to cause a stir over its portrayal of Jewish characters. A recent revival of “Oliver!” — based on the Charles Dickens’s novel “Oliver Twist” — had some critics arguing that the street thief character, Fagin, is an anti-Semitic caricature, much like Shakespeare’s Shylock.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Oliver!, New York Theatre Workshop, Caryl Churchill, Allison Gaudet Yarrow, Seven Jewish Children

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
tia Tue. Apr 7, 2009

Interesting derivative work at http://www.bluetruth.net/2009/04/seven-muslim-children.html Seven Muslim children

Tell him to launch the rockets Tell him to use the school yard Don’t tell him to use the school yard Tell him they’re afraid to fire back because the world will hate them Don’t tell him they might fire back anyway Tell him they must all die Don’t tell him they might attack Tell him we’re living in the Warsaw Ghetto Tell him what the Warsaw Ghetto was Don’t tell him what really happened in the Warsaw Ghetto Don’t tell him about Auschwitz and Treblinka Tell him they’re afraid of us and won’t attack us Tell him we can shoot off rockets forever. Tell him if he’s lucky the rocket will hit a kindergarten Tell him “itbach-al-Yahud” Tell him “Filastin hi arduna, Wa al-Yahud kilabuna” Tell him we will go back to al-Andalus In the Name of the Prophet




Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.