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!
  • “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.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • 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.