Director Stephen Daldry and playwright David Hare will return to the Royal Court later this month to premiere Wall, Hare’s response to the Israel/Palestine separation barrier.
The premiere, which runs from 12-14 March in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, falls during Hare’s season performing Berlin, the playwright’s study of the once separated German capital, at the National Theatre. Wall, says Hare, is the “natural answer” to Berlin, which is also directed by Daldry.
In addition to Wall and Berlin, Hare and Daldry previously collaborated on the hugely successful Via Dolorosa, the play which saw Hare visit Israel and the Palestinian territories for the first time. Since then, he has returned to the region on several occasions, visits he draws upon for his new 40-minute study of the separation barrier which could once day stretch four times further than the Berlin Wall and, in places, reach twice as high.
Speaking about programming the new piece, Royal Court Artistic Director Dominic Cooke said: “In 1997 David wrote his acclaimed Via Dolorosa, the result of a journey to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Having regularly returned to the region he has responded with this remarkable investigation into the history and philosophy behind the construction of the separation barrier between these territories. It appears as if our major writers are very moved by the current situation in the Middle East and it’s exciting to be able to open up the debate further on the subject with David’s powerful and informative piece, which he will perform for three nights in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.”
Wall is the second play reflecting on the Israel/Palestine conflict to be staged at the Royal Court since the turn of the year, following Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children.
In its depiction of attitudes to the conflict, charges of anti-Semitism were raised against Seven Jewish Children from some quarters, a claim the Royal Court rejected, saying: “We categorically reject that accusation and furthermore would urge people to see this play before they judge it. While Seven Jewish Children is undoubtedly critical of the policies of the state of Israel, there is no suggestion that this should be read as a criticism of Jewish people. It is possible to criticise the actions of Israel without being anti-Semitic.”
When Wall debuts at the Royal Court, it will run alongside Mark Ravenhill’s new play Over There, which, fittingly, tells the story of twins separated for 25 years by the Berlin Wall.
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