Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Chosen, Portland Center Stage (Grade D-)

Director: Chris Coleman
From the Book The Chosen by Chaim Potok, stage play by Aaron Posner

Reuben Malter    Matthew Boston
Young Rauven Malter     Carter Hudson
Reb Saunders     Daivd Margulies
Danny Saunders     Jonathan David Martin
David Malter     John Rothman

sez says:  The acting was great--the staging was fine but the play itself is a bust.  Uncritical endorsements of Zionism, in any form, are in questionable taste. If you want to tell one side of a story, tell the other side.  Is it possible that people in Portland know so little about what happened to the Palestinians (the people who occupied the area that the Zionist took), that they can sit and listen to accusations that the Palestinian were attacking Jewish Settlements without at least feeling a bit squeamish?  Excuse me, did the Palestinians not have a right to at least try to protect their land and their homes?
Anyway, politics aside (which is hard to do)--my question about this play is: What if you removed all of the disagreeable politics and set the play in some other time and place--what would you have?  Well--you'd have an entirely unbelievable story about fairytale father-son relationships (has anyone ever had --or known of --fathers or sons like the ones in this story?) The story ends with the conclusions that son's must find their own paths, even if that disappoints their fathers.  And good fathers, while disappointed, will love their sons and accept their decisions. Well...humm. how new or interesting or realistic is that?  And, is it worth an entire play?  Maybe it is worthy of a sub-plot--but if that is all there is--that ain't much.  Real fathers and sons do struggle--but those struggles are never so simple as they are presented here.
And, one last point.  A little fact checking is needed:  I don't think a Hasidim would be tossing a football  around with his pal.  Footballs are made of pigskin.

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