Bintel Blog

'Seven Jewish Children' — Provocative Playlet or Agitprop?   

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

  • Print
  • Share Share

Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza” is inciting more controversy stateside since it jumped the pond

Last week, Washington’s Theater J, staged two free readings of the 10-minute playlet that the The Washington Post called “a beautifully crafted cheap shot” and  “an effort to compress to black-and-white a question of conscience of infinite complexity.”  

Churchill’s work has spurred a couple of critical copycats. Robbie Gringras’s “One Israeli Child” and Deb Margolin’s “The Eighth Jewish Child” mimic Churchill’s format, yet represent opposing political views.  Theater J’s director Ari Roth, added the readings of these scripts in addition to “Seven Jewish Children,” and engaged actors and audience members alike in post-show debates.   

Before the scripts were read at Theater J, The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg (a Forward alum) argued with Ari Roth about “his decision to provide Churchill’s play with Jewish oxygen” while Theater J posits its mission is to “celebrate the social vision that [is] part of the Jewish cultural legacy.” Roth stands behind his decision.  From their conversation on Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog:

JG: [Churchill] says that we’re “better haters.”

AR: Jeffrey, Jeffrey –

JG: That’s Shylock, right?

AR: I want your very, very smart blog readers to understand that the   way to discuss this play is not to lift lines from the last page and   a half of it. That is not how to fully experience and understand the   meaning of any drama. I can’t cede this to journalists who don’t love   theater enough to understand what’s going on here. That is not a   sophisticated way to regard art, by picking out a sentence here and   then going apes—t over it!

JG: It’s not just a sentence.

AR:  She could have said worse.

JG: Oh, that’s a great standard to have. She could have said worse.

AR: This is why you don’t work in the American theater.

JG: This isn’t even the line that insinuates the blood libel.

The Forward had hoped to post a YouTube video of a staging of “Seven Jewish Children,” presented by Rooms Productions in Chicago, but the clip was removed Friday morning.  Instead of charging admission, the Chicago production facilitated donations to the British charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians, at Churchill’s request.    
 
 


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Gaza, Seven Jewish Children, Caryl Churchill, Allison Yarrow



Find us on Facebook!
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • 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.