31 Mar

Caryl Churchill’s SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN has been met with much controversy, within and outside Jewish communities. It’s very short– just ten pages long. An open, porous text which she’s made available free (with the proviso that any funds raised at performances go to medical aid for Gazans)
it consists of a series of statements about what to tell a Jewish child. (“Tell her not to be afraid”….) Unusually, none of the lines are ascribed and the casting is left completely open. It was written in response to the recent Israeli attack on Gaza and the subsequent humanitarian disaster.

Here is an excellent and thoughtful article on it by Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon. They argue against the accusation that the play is anti-Semitic (convincingly, I think). They write:

With its title, its subject matter, its distillation of that subject matter, of a long, tangled, bloody and bitter history down to a few simple strokes, it’s hardly surprising that Churchill’s play has elicited outrage. The hostile reaction to Seven Jewish Children has been amplified by the context of a frightening wave of anti-Semitism in Britain and elsewhere, and exacerbated by the tendency to misread a multivocal, dialectical drama as a single-voiced political tract.

And here, if you want to see for yourself, is the play itself. It’s only ten pages long– a quick read.


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