Garrett Eisler (The Playgoer) has posted a fantastic description of the recent New York Theatre Workshop reading of Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill. If I’d been in New York, I would have gone. And I would definitely go to THIS:
If I were running a theatre and Seven Jewish Children landed on my desk, I’d immediately issue commissions to 5 or 6 other playwrights I admired and tell them to write me their own 10-minute play on any subject they wish as long as it’s something so unbearable that you’re convinced no theatre company would ever do it.
So the result would be an evening, hopefully, of the most offensive, morally troubling, personally insulting theatre around. No talkbacks, no panels. Just buy a ticket and go see what some really interesting playwrights can do when there are truly no holds barred. I think the effect of entering such an extreme “free speech zone” for a night would be as exhilerating as it would be infuriating.
And it probably would sell a lot of tickets, too.
I imagine that’s exactly the kind of thing a lot of theaters would say they want to produce in their grants and their mission statements and when they ask for support because theater is so vital to a community — and something they would never, ever actually do. But I’d be first in line if someone took up the challenge.