babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » culture   » Theatre Censorship in NYC part 5

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: Theatre Censorship in NYC part 5
Mudd
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9770

posted 23 March 2006 04:05 PM      Profile for Mudd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm leaving the board, I explain why here

I can only hope that the previous discussion can continue, sans bickering and dirty laundry,

see ya,

Mudd


From: On-Scary-Oh | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 24 March 2006 01:48 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes please discuss only topics related to this thread. If you have any personal beef please email michelle instead.

~~~~~~~~~~

"Why has a New York theater company backed off from producing a celebrated play about the moral awakening of a young American activist?"


quote:
When the English producers denounced the decision by the New York Theatre Workshop as "censorship" and withdrew the show, even the mainstream media could not ignore the implications. Why is it that the eloquent words of an American radical could not be heard in this country -- not, that is, without what the Workshop had called "contextualizing," framing the play with political discussions, maybe even mounting a companion piece that would somehow "mollify" the Jewish community?


quote:
In this way, Corrie's words appear to have had more impact than her death. The House bill calling for a U.S. investigation of her killing died in committee, with only seventy-eight votes and little media attention. But the naked admission by a left-leaning cultural outlet that it would subordinate its own artistic judgment to pro-Israel views has served as a smoking gun for those who have tried to press the discussion in this country of Palestinian human rights.

quote:
Indeed, the admission was so shocking and embarrassing that the Workshop quickly tried to hedge and retreat from its statements. But the damage was done; people were asking questions that had been consigned to the fringe: How can the West condemn the Islamic world for not accepting Muhammad cartoons when a Western writer who speaks out on behalf of Palestinians is silenced? And why is it that Europe and Israel itself have a healthier debate over Palestinian human rights than we can have here?

quote:
The Workshop was evidently spooked. Its artistic director, James Nicola, spoke of having discussions after every performance to "contextualize" the play, of hiring a consultant who had worked with Salman Rushdie to lead these discussions and of hiring Emily Mann, the artistic director of the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, to prepare a companion piece of testimonies that would include Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism.

"We've had some brilliant discussions, we told them, but the play speaks for itself," Dodgson says. "It is expensive and unnecessary to have that after every single performance. Of course we knew some of the hideous things that were said about Rachel. We took no notice of them. The controversy died when people saw that this was a play about a young woman, an idealist."

Dodgson was further upset when a Workshop marketing staffer, whom she won't name, used the word "mollifying." "It was a very awkward conversation. He said, 'I can't find the right word, but "mollifying" the Jewish community.' It shocked me."


quote:
Just whom was the Workshop consulting in its deliberations? It has steadfastly refused to say. In the New York Observer, Nicola mentioned "Jewish friends." Dodgson says that in discussions with the Royal Court, Workshop staffers brought up the Anti-Defamation League and the mayor's office as entities they were concerned about. (Abe Foxman of the ADL visited London in 2005 and denounced the play in the New York Sun as offensive to Jewish "sensitivities.") By one account, the fatal blow was dealt when the global PR firm Ruder Finn (which has an office in Israel) said it couldn't represent the play.

In its latest statement, the Workshop says it consulted many community voices, not only Jews. These did not include Arab-Americans. Najla Said, the artistic director of Nibras, an Arab-American theater in New York, says, "We're not even 'other' enough to be 'other.' We're not the political issue that anyone thinks is worth talking about."


quote:
The Times article was shocking. It said the Workshop had "delayed" a production it had never announced, and reported that Nicola had been "polling local Jewish religious and community leaders as to their feelings." Nicola was quoted saying that Hamas's victory had made the Jewish community "very defensive and very edgy…and that seemed reasonable to me."

The Red Sea parted. Or anyway the Atlantic Ocean. The English playwright Caryl Churchill, who has worked with both theaters, condemned the decision. Vanessa Redgrave wrote a letter urging the Royal Court to sue the Workshop. At first, the New York theater community was quiet.


quote:
In an interview with The Nation, Kushner said that he was quiet because of his exhaustion over similar arguments surrounding the film Munich, on which he was a screenwriter, and because he kept hoping the decision would be made right. He said Nicola is a great figure in American theater: "His is one of the one or two most important theaters in this area -- politically engaged, unapologetic, unafraid and formally experimental." Never having gotten a clear answer about why Nicola put off the play, Kushner ascribes it to panic: Nicola didn't know what he was getting into, and only later became aware of how much opposition there was to Corrie, how much confusion the right has created around the facts. Nicola felt he was taking on "a really big, scary brawl and not a play." Still, Kushner said, the theater's decision created a "ghastly" situation. "Censoring a play because it addresses Palestinian-Israeli issues is not in any way right," he said.

http://www.alternet.org/story/33669/

[ 24 March 2006: Message edited by: mary123 ]


From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 24 March 2006 01:57 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
As George Hunka, author of the theater blog Superfluities, says, "This is far too important an issue for everyone to paper it over again, with everyone shaking hands for a New York Times photographer. It's an extraordinarily rare picture of the ways that New York cultural institutions make their decisions about what to produce."

Hunka doesn't use the J-word. Jen Marlowe does. A Jewish activist with Rachelswords.org (which is staging a reading of Corrie's words on March 22 with the Corrie parents present), she says, "I don't want to say the Jewish community is monolithic. It isn't. But among many American Jews who are very progressive and fight deeply for many social justice issues, there's a knee-jerk reflexive reaction that happens around issues related to Israel."

Questions about pressure from Jewish leaders morph quickly into questions about funding. Ellen Stewart, the legendary director of the theatrical group La MaMa E.T.C., which is across East 4th Street from the Workshop, speculates that the trouble began with its "very affluent" board. Rachel's father, Craig Corrie, echoes her. "Do an investigation, follow the money." I called six board members and got no response. (About a third appear to be Jewish, as am I.) This is of course a charged issue. The writer Alisa Solomon, who was appalled by the postponement, nonetheless warns, "There's something a little too familiar about the image of Jews pulling the puppet strings behind the scenes."

Perhaps. But Nicola's statement about a back channel to Jewish leaders suggests the presence of a cultural lobby that parallels the vaunted pro-Israel lobby in think tanks and Congress. I doubt we will find out whether the Workshop's decision was "internally generated," as Kushner contends, or more orchestrated, as I suspect. What the episode has demonstrated is a climate of fear. Not of physical harm, but of loss of opportunities. "The silence results from fear and intimidation," says Cindy Corrie. "I don't see what else. And it harms not only Palestinians. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, it harms Israelis and it harms us."


quote:
Kushner agrees. Having spent five months defending Munich, he says the fear has two sources: "There is a very, very highly organized attack machinery that will come after you if you express any kind of dissent about Israel's policies, and it's a very unpleasant experience to be in the cross hairs. These aren't hayseeds from Kansas screaming about gays burning in hell; they're newspaper columnists who are taken seriously." These attackers impose a kind of literacy test: Before you can cast a moral vote on Palestinian rights, you must be able to recite a million wonky facts, such as what percentage of the territories were outside the Green Line in 1949. Then there is the self-generated fear of lending support to anti-Semites or those who would destroy Israel. All in all, says Kushner, it can leave someone "overwhelmed and in despair -- you feel like you should just say nothing."

http://www.alternet.org/story/33669/

[ 24 March 2006: Message edited by: mary123 ]


From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 27 March 2006 01:29 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Jewish pressure drives Gaza play out of New York"

quote:
The West End in London is to receive the transfer of a play about a pro-Palestinian American activist after it was pulled from a theatre in New York amid controversy over its content.

quote:
A public meeting attended by the activist's parents on Wednesday at a New York church brought messages of support from the writers Maya Angelou and Alice Walker, Mariam Said, wife of the late Dr Edward Said, and the actors Vanessa Redgrave and Eve Ensler. By video, Patti Smith performed Peaceable Kingdom, dedicated to Ms Corrie.

quote:
But it was decided to go ahead with 36 performances at the Playhouse Theatre in London, starting Tuesday. A regional tour will follow later in the year.

"It's normally quite hard to raise money for these shows, but we've got angels [theatrical backers] who really are being angels," he (David Johnson, one of the producers)said. " I think it's a colossal piece of work and a very important work about something that is deeply topical." He said he was sure it would be seen in New York at some point. "The groundswell of opinion in America is just crazy," he said.



From the Independent

From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 27 March 2006 01:32 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Politically charged "Rachel Corrie" leads bold Rep lineup for 2006-07

"My Name is Rachel Corrie" is based on diary entries and e-mails written by the young Olympia activist.

Seattle Repertory Theatre is now the first major U.S. regional theater to announce that it will produce "My Name Is Rachel Corrie."

The controversial play, a hit in London, will appear at the Rep (March 15-April 22, 2007) as part of the theater's boldly contemporary 2006-07 season, the second under its new artistic head David Esbjornson.

From the Seattle Times


From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 27 March 2006 01:35 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the update.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 27 March 2006 01:56 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What a sordid history.

I'm glad that the British and Seattle theatres have made a commitment to this play.

From the report in the Independent, quoting the Workshop's director, James Nicola:

quote:
After committing to presenting the piece, the company had carried out "our routine pre-production research that includes exploring the social, political and cultural issues raised by the play" , he said.

"In researching My Name is Rachel Corrie, we found many distorted accounts of the actual circumstances of Rachel's death that had resulted in a highly charged, vituperative and passionate controversy. While our commitment to the play did not waver, our responsibility was not just to produce it, but to produce it in such a way as to prevent false and tangential back-and-forth arguments from interfering with Rachel's voice."


Utter mealy-mouthed cant.

I assume this theatre never puts on any of the classics (and is not going to be producing new ones, either).

If that man feels the historical record needs correcting, then he has a responsibility to correct it, not just make a limp wave in that direction.

Beyond that, art is not social science, and any plays put together in this fashion (if this really is what he does with his other plays, which I suspect is questionable) are bound to be boring compromises.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 27 March 2006 02:09 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Imagine the same such butchery "our routine pre-production research that includes exploring the social, political and cultural issues raised by the play"

-to any of Shakespeares plays?

-to any of Samual Beckett's plays like "Waiting for Godot?"

-to Arthur Miller's plays like "The Crucible?"

[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: mary123 ]


From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 27 March 2006 02:19 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Art "defamiliarizes," as Brecht said (and millions of other artists have said), and often it offends.

The art of consensus? There is no such thing.

I have to tell you, though, mary, that as a Scot, I am still upset about Macbeth, which is, from first to last, a vicious Tudor/Stuart slander against one of the (historically) greatest kings of Scotland. We all know that Shakespeare was just sucking up to James the first of one and half a dozen of another. And in the process, he lied up, down, and sideways about a truly great man. Despicable. And I don't care whether it is one of the greatest plays ever written, filled with some of the greatest poetry.

Somebody should have put it through a focus group first.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7024

posted 27 March 2006 08:25 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
The art of consensus? There is no such thing.

[DEVIL'S-ADVOCATE] Couldn't we rightly say that some of the great films of the Big Studios era were art by consensus? Assembly-line production, directors not consulted on editing, etc.

I'm just asking. [/DEVIL'S-ADVOCATE]


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2534

posted 27 March 2006 08:43 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Guardian not only has the lyrics to Billy Bragg's song on Rachel Corrie (a borrowing from Bob Dylan, perfectly kosher in the folk process, but also lyrics that are very raw in artistic terms - don't scan very well.

But some good old doggerel on the side of right!

I liked the Freedom Rider reference!

This is very raw in artistic terms but good old doggerel (on our side):

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329444381-117599,00.html

Grr... I'm hopeless with these URLs ... you can find the download through the above one...

quote:
Rachel Corrie went to Gaza to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinians, whose voice is seldom heard in her country, the US. That she herself should be silenced - first by an Israeli bulldozer, next by a New York theatre cancelling a play created from her words - is a testimony to the power of her message. This song was written on a plane on March 20 and recorded at Big Sky Recordings, Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 22. The tune is borrowed from Bob Dylan.

An Israeli bulldozer killed poor Rachel Corrie
As she stood in its path in the town of Rafah
She lost her young life in an act of compassion
Trying to protect the poor people of Gaza
Whose homes are destroyed by tank shells and bulldozers
And whose plight is exploited by suicide bombers
Who kill in the name of the people of Gaza
But Rachel Corrie believed in non-violent resistance
Put herself in harm's way as a shield of the people
And paid with her life in a manner most brutal
But you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain't the time for your tears. (...)


[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: lagatta ]


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 30 March 2006 01:20 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
London: My Name is Rachel Corrie opens today at the Playhouse Theatre following two sold out runs at the Royal Court in 2005.


quote:
The production is based on the writings of Rachel Corrie, the 23 year old American woman who was killed on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli Army bulldozer while she was protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes. The circumstances surrounding her death have been disputed. The International Solidarity Movement, of which Corrie was apart, claimed that she was run over on purpose, but The Israeli Defence Forces have said it was an accident and that she was killed by falling debris.

The show is currently booking through May 7th.

From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
mary123
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6125

posted 30 March 2006 01:37 PM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rachel Corrie and Why Jews Must Speak Up on Israel-Palestine

quote:
As a Jew who lived in Israel for seven years and whose family still lives there and has deep roots going back more than 80 years, it breaks my heart that there is a refusal to grapple with an almost untouchable topic in our country: why does the United States have such a one-sided policy in the Israel-Palestine conflict? And it's the reason I agreed to speak at the event which honored Rachel's life and her beliefs.

quote:
Almost 40 years ago, in 1967, Dr. King spoke in this very place about the need to speak up against a great purveyor of violence: his own government. He said, "If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam...So it is that those of us who are yet determined that "America will be" are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land."

Dr. King also said that he was speaking on behalf "of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries."

"I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."

How those words, sadly, have so much meaning for us today.

Those of us who stand opposed to the war in Iraq do so as patriotic people who love our country and our communities but, because it is our country, we demand that it live up to high moral standards of peace, justice, democracy and human rights.

We speak and stand up and oppose the war in Iraq for the same reason that we speak and stand up and say the occupation of the Palestinian people is wrong, morally and legally, and must end with a negotiated, just, and peaceful solution between the lawfully elected governments of the Palestinian people and Israel.


quote:
If you raise a criticism of Israel or our country's policy towards the conflict, you immediately are targeted, within the Jewish community, as being either disloyal (if you are Jewish) or anti-Semitic (if you are not Jewish). This is nonsense and has got to stop.

In fact, those politicians who pander to our worst instincts of fear and hatred, who praise policies that violate international law, they are the ones who are hurting Israel's long-term security and the security of all the people in the area.

So, let me state clearly: I believe unequivocally in a secure, prosperous Israel. But I also believe with the same passion that the occupation is draining the moral and economic strength of Israel and that there will only be a just peace agreement when a Palestinian state--a strong, vibrant, prosperous, independent state, able to provide jobs and a good life for its people--thrives alongside Israel.


quote:
Taking away the liberty, the humanity and the dignity of the Palestinian people takes away from the security from Israel. Targeting civilians, killing innocent men, women and children is evil–no matter who is doing it. Killing civilians is a “grave breach” of international humanitarian law. Whatever the circumstances, such acts are unjustifiable. We have to end the violence on both sides and support the peacemakers in both Israel and among the Palestinan people.

[ 30 March 2006: Message edited by: mary123 ]


From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca