Work written last week to be performed next month Tickets will be free and text available to download By any theatrical standards the latest play by Caryl Churchill h...… Read more
The Royal Court Theatre presents
Seven Jewish Children
A Play for Gaza
By Caryl Churchill
6 February - 21 February 2009
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Tickets: Free. A collection will be made for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP)
Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill is a ten minute history of Israel, ending with the bombing of Gaza. Thirteen performances will take place on the main stage of the Royal Court Theatre after Marius von Mayenburg’s play, The Stone. There will be no admission charge and a collection will be made for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP): Emergency Appeal for the People of Gaza, after the show.
Angry? Sad? Confused? Come and spend ten minutes with us.
A collection will be made for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP): Emergency Appeal for the People of Gaza, after the show. Tickets can be reserved in advance by calling 020 7565 5000 or are available on the day of performance. Only 2 tickets per customer.
Produced by the Royal Court International Department
Medical Aid for Palestinians is a humanitarian aid agency with over 25 years of experience working on the ground across the Middle East. MAPs team in Gaza pre-positioned emergency surgical kits and responded immediately to save lives when the attacks began in December. MAP is now taking a leading role in coordinating and delivering desperately needed aid and medical supplies inside Gaza.
Select a Date
Dates in February
|Fri 6 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Sat 7 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Mon 9 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Tue 10 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Wed 11 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Thu 12 Feb 2009||9:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Fri 13 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Sat 14 Feb 2009||9:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
Sold out Performances
Tickets are Free. A collection will be made for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP)
4 stars The Guardian
Caryl Churchill’s 10-minute play was written in response to the recent tragic events in Gaza. It not only confirms theatre’s ability to react more rapidly than any other art form to global politics, but also makes a fascinating counterpoise to Marius von Mayenburg’s The Stone, which precedes it at the Royal Court. Whereas The Stone shows how German children are often the victims of lies about family history, Churchill’s play suggests Israeli children are subject to a barrage of contradictory information about past and present.
The work consists of seven cryptic scenes in which parents, grandparents and relatives debate how much children should know and not know. It moves, implicitly, from the Holocaust to the foundation of the state of Israel through the sundry Middle East wars up to the invasion of Gaza. At first, the advice indicates the deep divisions within Israel (“Tell her they want to drive us into the sea” / “Tell her they don’t”); at the end, it becomes a ruthless justification for self-preservation (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now, tell her it’s the fog of war, tell her we won’t stop killing them till we’re safe”).
Churchill, I’m sure, would not deny the existence of fierce external, and internal, Jewish opposition to the attack on Gaza. What she captures, in remarkably condensed poetic form, is the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter. Avoiding overt didacticism, her play becomes a heartfelt lamentation for the future generations who will themselves become victims of the attempted military suppression of Hamas.
Performed by nine actors, under Dominic Cooke’s brisk, clear direction, the play solves nothing, but shows theatre’s power to heighten consciousness and articulate moral outrage.’
Michael Billington, Wednesday 11 February 2009
4 stars The Times
The history of Israel in ten minutes? It sounds like a bad bid for notoriety by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. But this new play by Caryl Churchill is an impassioned response to the events in Gaza that is elliptical, empathetic and illuminating. Written last month, rehearsed fast by Dominic Cooke and his cast, the play is free to attend and also free to read online (at www.royalcourttheatre.com).
In seven conversations that take us from Holocaust to Hamas, Churchill’s unnamed characters talk of survival, identity, defiance and aggression. These aren’t conveyed as clunky Big Questions but as urgent domestic quandaries about how much to tell an unseen girl about the situation. From “Don’t tell her they’ll kill her” in the first scene to “Tell her were the iron fist now” in the final scene the fear remains, but the attitude hardens.
But Churchill is not just stating that victims can become aggressors. She shows people wrestling with whether to define themselves by their situation or by some broader notion of humanity. Wrestling with what innocence means. “Tell her there are still people who hate Jews”, says one character. “Tell her there are people who love Jews”, says another. “Dont tell her to think Jews or not Jews”, says a third.
The writing is rhythmic and spare. There are no heroes or villains, for all that Churchill decries what is happening in Gaza. There is just the constant colliding of the two big, mutually exclusive truths of our lives: we’re just like everybody else, and we’re nothing like anybody else. If its brevity makes it inessential as an evening out (it’s staged at 9pm, after Marius von Maybenburg’s The Stone ) then rest assured that it reads as well as it plays.’
Dominic Maxwell, Friday 13 February 2009
You don’t have to pay for a seat for Seven Jewish Children, though there’s a bucket person at the door collecting for Medical Aid for Palestinians. Even so, it’s remarkable how many people, on the sleetiest day of a grim winter, trekked into the Royal Court for 10 minutes’-worth of Caryl Churchill’s words. They won’t have wasted their time. Though you could argue that as a response to, rather than an analysis of, recent events in Gaza, the play is actually rather slow off the mark, it still shows how relatively flexible theatre is in seizing on topical subjects: film can’t react quickly and telly mostly doesn’t bother. The Court should make a habit of staging such reactions.
What’s more, though there’s no mystery about Churchill’s reaction to the Israeli bombing – she’s against it – she produces more than an agitprop shout: this is a far more substantial piece of work than her invective against America and Britain’s “special relationship” staged three years ago. On the page, these brief scenes, for which the only specification is that they should be spoken by adults, look as if they might be spoken by only one person and talking about only one other. In fact they’re intended to be orchestrated into argument, and to be divided between different speakers.
Dominic Cooke dispenses the lines perfectly in a production that begins by looking mechanical – characters scatter and come together around a discussion as if they were iron filings – but then builds and changes. The early sentences invoke the Holocaust; the later clearly talk of Gaza. But none of them are really addressed to anyone other than the speaker. They seem to care but are really a blood-letting. The more you speak, the less you say. The more you go on, the less you are actually talking to someone else. Tell that to an audience and, weirdly, they seem to respond.
Susannah Clapp, Sunday 15th February 2009