By Tash Shifrin | 11 July 2014
As I write, more than 120 Palestinians have already been killed in Israel’s latest brutal assault on Gaza – around a quarter are children.
It is time to watch again Caryl Churchill’s clever, subtle, nuanced play, Seven Jewish Children – a play for Gaza, written in January 2009 in response to “Operation Cast Lead”, the ariel bombardment and ground invasion that left around 1,400 Palestinians dead.
The play presents a series of seven short scenes – not quite nailed down in time but loosely covering periods from the 19th century anti-Semitic pogroms in Tsarist Russia, through Nazi Germany to modern-day Israel.
It is filled with anger, fear, searching moral questions, irony, bitterness and more.
The piece is just ten minutes long. In this video, it is performed by a single actor, but as Churchill explains in notes to the script:
No children appear in the play. The speakers are adults, the parents and if you like other relations of the children. The lines can be shared out in any way you like among those characters. The characters are different in each small scene as the time and child are different. They may be played by any number of actors.
You can download the full text here.
This is a play to watch, to read and to perform – and it is aimed not only at making us think but raising solidarity with the Palestinians – as the statement on performing rights makes clear.
The play can be read or performed anywhere, by any number of people. Anyone who wishes to do it should contact the author’s agent, who will license performances free of charge provided that no admission fee is charged and that a collection is taken at each performance for Medical Aid for Palestinians.
If you’re not much of an actor, you can click on the link and make a donation anyway – Medical Aid for Palestinians has issued an emergency appeal as the hospitals, medical centres and ambulances trying to deal with hundreds of injured casualties are themselves hit in the bombardment.
Today there were big demonstrations in London, Birmingham and elsewhere in protest at Israel’s horrifying assault.
Our solidarity too goes to the people of Gaza.