Hello East Village Theater Fans!
Tonight begins the New York Premiere of Pangs of the Messiah, written by noted Israeli Playwright Motti Lerner.
The play is set in 2014, where Israel is on the verge of signing a peace accord. In the West Bank settlements that Israel may soon abandon, no one is celebrating. Lerner’s tense drama focuses on the Chairman of the Council of Settlements and his family as they struggle to retain the life they have built in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. The play provides a rare window into the lives and psyches of the settlers from an insider’s perspective. It is a family drama with broad political implications. Here are some thoughts from the playwright, who is here at the Y for the opening weekend of the show.
What inspired you to first write the play? – I wrote the play after a “Jewish Fundamentalist Underground” was discovered in 1984. Members of this group murdered several Palestinians and wounded others. This group was the tip of the iceberg of a larger Jewish sector, mainly in the settlements, but also within the borders of Israel. I thought the Israeli public should be aware of its agenda.
The play was originally presented in 1985 at Tel Aviv. How has the play changed over the years? How have audiences reacted at different times and at different places? Do you expect a different reaction in New York? The play created controversy everywhere it was presented. Some settlers have rejected the existence of fundamentalist groups in the settlements, some admitted to it.
What effect do you think political drama can have on global politics? Political drama cannot change the political reality in the short-term, but it can suggest new political ideas into the public discourse which in the long run can change political processes.
Pangs of the Messiah is produced by Untitled Theater Company.
One of our kids looks on as The 14th Street Y opens its doors to part of the Wall of Jerusalem part of the set of “Pangs of the Messiah”.