Artistic Ruminations

Staging a Conflict: Israel, Palestine, and the American Theatre

Where politicians and diplomats fail, artists and storytellers may succeed. Not in ratifying a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, but in building the social and political connectivity that enables resolution. In the absence of healthy relationships, and amid the persistence of narratives that reproduce staticity, Malek Najjar, Corey Pond, and I have curated Semitic Commonwealth, a staged reading series comprised of six plays exploring the human toll of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, not with timelines, statistics, and SWOT analyses, but a laser-sharp focus on the personal prices paid by those most affected.

We’ve assembled a team of distinguished playwrights of Arab and Jewish backgrounds who have written plays that propel the discourse beyond predictable enmities and righteous posturing, the monotonous talking points and selective memories that have stifled progress for far too long. They are plays that explore themes of identity, justice, occupation, exile, history, and homeland with remarkable honesty and integrity.

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