Monday, October 27, 2008

Israeli Theater at Wesleyan

Lizzie Doron is an Israeli author and playwright and a daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Despite the fact that most people believe that Israel only exists as a result of the Shoah, Holocaust survivors have never had an easy time of it in the Promised Land. Her works illustrate not only how attitudes towards those who cames to Israel after the War have changed over the decades but also how survivors and their offspring have affected the political and social atmosphere of the country

As a teenager, Doron moved to the Golan Heights (after Israel reclaimed the area from Syria) and worked to build the agricultural movement in the area (the Syrians had only planted gun emplacements and the soil there, in spots, is extremely fertile. During the 1973 war, Syria conducted an extensive bombing campaign of the area and many soldiers were killed and crops destroyed. Doron was, at the time, in the Army and had the sad task of informing parents that their children had died. By the end of the war, Doron helped to create a peace movement.

In an interview published this March in Ha'aretz, the author discussed why she so much of her writing is informed by the Holocaust (4 books since 1998.)

"The Holocaust is always there in my stories, because it is the only event that connects all the people here, including the Mizrahim (immigrants from North Africa and the Arab countries). It is a memory that connects to a common past and a common threat."

"The problem is that Israeli society often uses the Holocaust for political purposes, claiming human suffering for itself and becoming insensitive to the suffering of others. This indicates that we have not recovered properly. We are still suffering and miserable and licking our wounds. When a person is sick he cannot see his neighbor is hurting."

The Jewish & Israel Studies Program at Wesleyan presents "Why Didn't You Come Before the War?", a one-woman show adapted from Doron's first book (of the same name) this Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. Starring Fabiana Meyuhas, the play is a series of short monologues that reveal the life of Holocaust survivor and her family. Click here to see a YouTube excerpt of the show.

While this is not a cheerful subject, Israeli theater (and literature) is notable for how it tackles the country's major issues. The event is free and open to the public.

One other theater note - the Tony Kushner talk, scheduled for this Thursday night (10/30) on campus, has been postponed until further notice.

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