yesterday rehearsals started for Pangs of the Messiah. It is Shavuot the building was closed except for a group of actors, a theater staff and an Israeli director, breaking ground on this important new play. Really, really important. This is the play I’ve been waiting for all season.
The play is a look into the future, 2012, at a family of settlers on the West Bank. Written by a peace activist the play very accurately and frighteningly depicts the mindset and actions of the extreme right, Jewish religious nationalist fundamentalists.
This morning as I was preparing some dramaturgical work to give to the actors I reread Lech-Lecha (Genesis 12:1-3):
The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”
This is the beginning a basis, a claim for God given land. Funny how so few words can have such a huge impact on generations. And I know I’m being simplistic and of course the claim is also built on historical, I’m not saying this is it but this is the beginning, this is the root. And would it be nice if it were true, wouldn’t it be nice to be a blessing.
The floor of the set has written out in Hebrew this biblical passage. Because it is the root. When this family tries to hold on to their land they know the land they set foot on is the land that God promised Abram. They know the line from Abram to themselves. Everyday their foot is on history and blessings.
This play is devastating. Particularly now as we look back on 40 years of occupation. Expect a lot of middle east related posts from me in the next couple of months. As I’ve posted on before, Israel is something that I continually wrestle with.