Philadelphia Theatre Company Continues Season With Wrestling Jerusalem October 18-November 5
Philadelphia Theatre Company continues its 2017-2018 festival-style theatre season with the local premiere of Wrestling Jerusalem, written and performed by Aaron Davidman and directed by Michael John Garcés. This one-man show grapples with identity, history, and social justice and was the impetus for the 2016 film, Wrestling Jerusalem, that has been a selection at film festivals around the country. The gripping performance takes over the stage at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad Street) October 18-November 5. Press Night is Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets run $25 to $69 and are available at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre box office, online at philatheatreco.org or by phone 215-985-0420.
Set in America, Israel and Palestine, Wrestling Jerusalem follows one man’s journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The performance features Davidman giving voice to seventeen different characters–moving between male and female, Jewish and Muslim, Israeli and Arab while shedding light on one of the most entrenched conflicts of the past 70 years. Davidman offers no sweeping generalizations or easy answers; instead, he explores the humanity at the heart of this history. Challenging long-held beliefs with sharp and unblinking observation, Davidman finds both isolation and connection in the shifting moral compasses and competing narratives of all his characters.
“Most of us don’t know how to talk about Israel/Palestine and I wanted to create a piece that would inspire conversational depth. I wanted to encourage communities to learn about those they see as on ‘the other side’ and to foster more understanding about the ‘other,’” said Davidman. “It’s definitely political. I guess all art, on some level, is political, even if it’s not overtly so. But, what I have tried to do is give voice to a range of perspectives so that we’re not stuck in the same old political discussion — that we might see the humanity and multiple perspectives of this and other polarizing issues as well.”
Wrestling Jerusalem was a commission from Ari Roth, then artistic director of Theatre J in Washington DC, and now the founding artistic director of Mosaic Theatre in DC. “We wanted to push the public conversation about Israel/Palestine towards a more nuanced complex conversation, especially in the American Jewish community, but also in the community at large,” added Davidman about the creation of the play.
“I am thrilled to bring this show to Philadelphia,” said Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. “It represents the kind of theatre you will see more of from PTC. We want to provide the framework for a deep exploration of complex subjects and provoke meaningful reflection and conversation.”
Nephelie Andonyadis created the set that spans three countries. Allen Willner designed the lighting. Bruno Louchoarn is the Sound Designer and Stacy Printz is the Choreographer.
Davidman also turned the play into a film that has screened across the country and recently had its New York premiere. At the same time, he sees the benefit of a live audience. “The stage play is theatre and the film is film. They are two different artistic mediums and one doesn’t replace the other. The live show is alive only each time I do it and sharing the narratives in the room with an audience—there is nothing quite like it.” It continues to tour the country and inspire community discussions, forums and student engagement.
Davidman is a playwright, director, actor and producer. He served as Artistic Director of Traveling Jewish Theatre in San Francisco from 2001 – 2011. At TJT he produced a variety of classics and new works, including The Chosen, adapted by Arden Theatre Company co-founder Aaron Posner.
Davidman received an MFA in Creative Writing/Playwriting from San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his theatrical training at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a recipient of the New Generations Fellowship from Theatre Communications Group and the 2016 TIKKUN AWARD.
PTC is partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Jewish Community Relations Council to host three events that include talkbacks and community discussion. Tuesday, October 24 is Student Night with a post-performance discussion moderated by Norman Einhorn, Director of Member Engagement at Har Zion Temple; Wednesday, November 1 is Interfaith Community Night to be moderated by Dr. Peter Pettit, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College; and Thursday, November 2 is Jewish Community Night with a moderator to-be-announced.
Wrestling Jerusalem is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia, Jewish Community Relations Council. PTC’s 2017-2018 season is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Dranoff Properties, Center City Film & Video, and American Airlines, the official airline of Philadelphia Theatre Company.
Wednesday, October 18 at 7 p.m., Preview
Thursday, October 19 at 8 p.m. Preview
Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. Press Night
Saturday, October 21 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 21 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 22 at 3 p.m.G
Tuesday, October 24 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 25 at 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 26 at 8 p.m.
Friday, October 27 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 28 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 28 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 29 at 3 p.m.
Tuesday, October 31 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 1 p.m.
Wednesday, November 1 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m.
Friday, November 3 at 8 pm.
Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 4 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 5 at 3 p.m.
Philadelphia Theatre Company continues its commitment to sharing the unique American experience and presents an exciting festival-style theatre season under the leadership of new Artistic Director Price. The ambitious 2017-2018 line-up includes plays, music, comedy and political commentary and features top local and national voices. With Price at the helm of the company, PTC begins a bold new chapter for the ground-breaking organization.
The season began with the World Premiere of Bob Garfield’s Ruggedly Jewish and Kathleen Turner’s cabaret debut. The season continues with The Mad Ones: An Intimate Evening with Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, a concert version of a Broadway-bound musical from one of theatre’s most exciting songwriting teams (October 23); Mike Daisey’s This Is Not Normal and The End of Journalism, two provocative new monologues (November 9-11); We Know How You Die!, a fully improvised comedy show performed by members of the Upright Citizens Brigade (December 1 – 2); a sing-along A Dream Is A Wish: Princess Concert (December 17); Musical Thrones: A Parody, a giddy and raucous parody of the Emmy Award-winning HBO show (February 9 – 10); and the Off-Broadway hit play, Small Mouth Sounds (March 13 – April 1).
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.
Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. PTC has received more than 180 nominations and 53 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.
PTC believes in the importance of education programs that support its artistic mission and its award-winning education programs have introduced hundreds of students to contemporary American theater through in-school and at-the-theater workshops, residencies, student matinees and summer camp experiences.