(The following article by Jesse Oxfeld appeared in New York Magazine 5/11/09. Berlin/Wall opens at the Public Theater 5/14/09 for five performances only.)
Playwright David Hare on Berlin, Wall, and Common Lines Between Israelis and Palestinians
The playwright David Hare, whose 1999 one-man show Via Dolorosa considered life in Israel and the West Bank, separately debuted two new monologues in London earlier this year: Berlin, a meditation on the German capital twenty years after its wall came down, and Wall, about the barrier going up between Israel and the Palestinian territories. He’ll perform them together for the first time in five performances at the Public Theater this month. He spoke to Vulture from London about what separates the two walls, performing for many different nationalities, and emotionally conflicted Israelis.
You told the Evening Standard that you’re pairing Berlin and Wall because it seemed like a cute idea. I suspect your decision wasn’t quite that glib.
It’s just the comparison is so extraordinary. One wall went up to keep people in, the other one is being put up to keep people out. In both cases these walls are philosophical statements as well as security measures. The wall that is going up now is three different things. It’s a security measure, yes. It’s also potentially a border. And thirdly, [Yitzhak] Rabin, who is the first person who ever thought of the wall, said we have to decide on separation as a philosophy. The experiment of trying to make Israel a country like any other is over. Now we’re gonna make ourselves a separate place. Because it’s all three things, it’s fantastically complicated, and that obviously seems like a very rich thing to be writing about.
Is it designed to be an implication that it’s really a successor to the Berlin Wall?
No, absolutely not. I don’t say that. Though, obviously, the Palestinians do spray it with poster paint, and with slogans. And there is art going up on the Israel/Palestine wall, which is indeed to remind any visitor of the analogy. The Palestinians want to make that analogy, obviously. I don’t make that analogy . . .
David Hare on director Stephen Daldry (You Tube interview): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGPSNa7WKt0
Written and Performed by DAVID HARE
Directed by STEPHEN DALDRY
5 PERFORMANCES ONLY!
MAY 14—MAY 17
AMERICAN PREMIERE, DIRECT FROM AN EXTENDED HIT RUN IN LONDON!
FROM THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF THE READER. In two contrasted readings for the stage, David Hare visits a place where a famous wall has come down; then another where a wall is going up.
Both Berlin and Wall will be presented at each performance.
For his whole adult life, David Hare has been visiting the city which so many young people regard as the most exciting in Europe. But there’s something in Berlin’s elusive character that makes him feel he’s always missing the point. Now, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, Hare reads a 55-minute meditation about Germany’s restored capital—both what it represents in European history and the peculiar part it has played in his own life.
The Israeli/Palestine security fence will one day stretch 486 miles, from one end of Israel to the other. It will be four times as long as the Berlin wall, and in places twice as high. In this second monologue, Hare offers a history of the wall’s building, an exploration of the philosophy behind it and a personal account of those who live on either side.
Running time: 2 hrs. including one intermission
Thursday, May 14 at 7pm
Friday, May 15 at 7pm
Saturday, May 16 at 7pm
Sunday, May 17 at 1pm & 7pm
NEWLY EXPANDED RUSH TIX: A limited number of $20 Rush Tickets will be available at the box office on sale to the general public one hour prior to curtain, subject to availability. There is a 2 ticket limit per person. Cash Only.