While I was in Miami for Pesach, I got to see a production of Blasted, directed by my cousin Joe Adler, who owns GableStage Theater in Coral Gables, FL.

Blasted is written by Sarah Kane, a British playwright who killed herself when she was 28. It is perhaps the darkest play I have ever seen. It may be the darkest artistic representation I have ever seen, in any medium.

It was quite powerful, and I’m still mulling it over. Basically, the play follows a couple who are ex-lovers in a hotel room, whose relationship is disturbing and violent at times. As the play progresses, we come to learn that this couple, this hotel room, is set amidst a war which is even more disturbing and violent, and we watch the scene — and literally, the set — deteriorate before our very eyes.

The thing is, it’s perhaps the most honest depiction of war and the state of our world I’ve ever seen. My parents liked it less than I did, and my mother said she found it to be not subtle enough. But I would argue that a play about war and violence which strives for subtlety misses the point of its subject matter. War *is* violent and disturbing, and our easy capacity to make war is evident in how easily we slip into violence and hurtful behavior in our own lives. Look at the state of the debates over health care reform for the past year. Look at the vitriol and hate that comes spewing out of the mouths of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the viewers who watch them.

Pesach is about liberation from slavery, and if there is a common theme that enslaves us – as Jews, as Americans, as human beings – it is this tendency toward violence and hate. I hope someday to live in a time when we are no longer enslaved by it.


~ by realsupergirl on March 31, 2010.

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