In Association with the Capital Fringe Festival
July 20-29, All Tickets: $15 / Middle East Festival Pass: $40
"Ariel Sharon Hovers Between Life and Death and Dreams of Theodore Herzl"
A World Premiere by David Zellnik
directed by John Vreeke
A controversial look at 100
Zionist history. Theodor Herzl, father of Zionism, went in his short
life from struggling playwright and self-hating Jew to becoming “the
Modern Moses.” He dreamed of a land where “weak European Jews” could be
turned into “men.” Was Ariel Sharon the ominous culmination of Herzl's
vision? Or a best friend? And what of the last chapter in
"Ariel Sharon" is a
bold, sobering examination of a century of Zionism
"Sharon/Herzl," a world premiere, is part of Theater J's "Voices From a
Changing Middle East"
series, a mini-festival within the Fringe. A work that's technically
still in progress but feels nearly full-fledged, the play runs in an
entertaining bare-bones production at Theater J through Sunday.
The play flashes back and forth between the lives of Sharon, the controversial Israeli politician, and Herzl, the Budapest-born writer-visionary who championed the idea of a Jewish state starting in the late 19th century. Zellnick tracks contrasts and parallels between the two lives, raising provocative questions about how violence, pragmatism and utopian yearnings have fit into the history of Zionism.
its present form, "Sharon/Herzl" is an expository and somewhat
overdeliberate play, but the performers in John Vreeke's production
have located the vibrancy in the major characters. Michael Russotto
does a swell job spinning Herzl's personality from his early
flaky-playwright days to his later political incarnation. Rich Pelzman
makes a compellingly unnerving Sharon, and Alexander Strain has some
delightful cameos as Mark Twain and other figures.