Monday Mishmash



Spring! It finally seems like spring! Everything is green and there are blooming pink trees, and the sun is shining and the sky is a perfect unclouded blue, and it makes me so happy. I hate winter. I’ve tried to get around it, but I just do.
I’ve decided I’m not allowed to buy any new books until I read some of the books I already have. Besides my towering TBR pile, I have at least eight books that I’ve started in the last six months and put down. I never used to do this. They are not necessarily bad books–some didn’t grab my attention, some grated for whatever reason, some were just too dark and issuey for the mood I was in. I want to start over and give them second chances. I mean, a book is a terrible thing to waste, right? Does anyone else do this?
I am twittering here: @jessica_shea. I am very new and twittershy.But I like reading everyone else’s pithy little updates.
I love writing about twisty family relationships. In my cupcake book, Em’s parents are newly separated and she and her sister are handling it very differently. The next-next scene I get to write is when she meets her dad’s girlfriend for the first time. Drama ahoy!
There’s a great article by Tony Kushner (of Angels in America fame) and Alisa Solomon here on Seven Jewish Children, which is a ten-minute play by Caryl Churchill written in January in response to the events in Gaza. The play’s productions at the Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, and now Theater J/Forum Theatre in DC have been protested. It has been accused of being anti-Semitic agitprop, blood libel even. I saw it yesterday (Steve dramaturged the DC production) and found it difficult and powerful. Personally, I think it offers a multiplicity of viewpoints on the history of Israel and is a great starting point for a discussion. There was a spirited talk-back afterward, as well as two response monologues written by a British Israeli playwright. The short text is available here. While I disagree with Churchill’s boycott of Israeli theatre (why punish artists for their government’s choices?), I think her plays are very smart and complex. Anyway, in the article in The Nation, Kushner and Solomon analyze the text and the semiotics of performance. They argue that theatre is "arguably the most humanizing of art forms because it begins and ends with human presence," and that it "has often attracted the ire of people grimly determined to maintain the invisibility of others." I love this. Later, they lament the "tendency to misread a multivocal, dialectical drama as a single-voiced political tract." Um, yes. People have argued that this isn’t theatre, it’s propaganda. But I think it’s the best kind of theatre–the kind that provokes passionate discussion.

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