Back to Stuff Happens
As the assistant soundman at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, I cover for the boss when he goes on vacation, which is what I'll be doing for the next three weeks. As you may know from my posts over the last few weeks, we're doing the play Stuff Happens until July 17. It's a powerful bit of drama based on recent history, and the reviews (links in older posts below) have been very good.
Opening night was a big success, with the longest standing ovation I've ever seen in this theater (part of which was for Gordon Davidson, because this is his last play to direct here). The largely liberal audiences have enjoyed the play, for the most part.
Except for one part. Throughout the play, the action stops for brief monologues by various people with very different points of view. The pro-war liberal often gets applause for the passion of his humanitarian arguement for the war, which is suprising considering the liberal leanings of the audiences. But at the top of the second act, a Palestinian woman, obviously educated and articulate, speaks from the point of view of her people. The reason for America's attack on Iraq, she says, is to support America's $3 billion per year colony in the middle east, Israel.
The boos, on some nights, are loud and long.
I find it astounding that these Jews are so pro-Israel that they can't shut up long enough to entertain the idea that the way the US treats Israel might have something to do with perceptions of America's war in Iraq. Specifically, early in the play Bush favors unleashing Sharon because sometimes a show of force by just one side can "really clarify things." It shocks me that these otherwise liberal Jews are so wrapped up in their hatred for Palestinians that they would loudly boo a play! Do they not see the irony? I wonder if their anger blocks their ears to the last line of this woman's monologue: "We are the Jews of the Jews." Do they not realize that the poverty in the Palestinian camps, the use of the Palestinians as cheap labor, and the killing of Palestinian civilians in retaliation for terrorists killing Jews - do they not see how Americans killing Arab civilians in Iraq fuels the same fire of hatred?
Of course I can't know for sure if these are the Mark Taper Forum regulars booing, or if this Iraq War history play has just brought in a different kind of Zionist theater goer, but to hear a liberal audience laughing at Bush's insincerity one minute and booing a Palestinian who sees America's involvement in the middle east as support for Israel really pisses me off. I'd like to see some Palestenian protesters out in front of the theater when the audience leaves, just to make them face their bigotry a little longer.