The fun eighties and the funnier nineties were over with the worry of the computer crashing millennium and the atmosphere saddened and exploded with politics after the tragedy of 9.11. Although I’d already written two plays championing Muslim women, I did not feel entitled to tackle the subject of Iraq. But I felt able to confront the martyrdom of Rachel Corrie in the Gaza Strip. She was an activist whose motives I understood. She died in 2003.
FLOWERS OF RED
Working for John Kerry’s campaign, as my anti-Bush statement, I was handed a leaflet in Sheridan Square informing me of the Rachel Corrie story which was clearly a case of martyrdom as tragic as Antigone’s. She died under an Israeli tank, protecting homes of the Palestinians.
I wrote Flowers of Red in response, and it is about the same length as Sophocles’ play. With no expectation of it being produced in America because Americans were never told the Israeli Government had done anything ‘wrong’ (although my Israeli friends knew better) I tried it out at the Brighton Festival, directed by Terry Adams. We took the production to Edinburgh where it won me Best Playwright from the Edinburgh Fringe Report, which in turn led to a production in Boston at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. There it got what my playwright friends call a ‘rave’ review in The Boston Globe, proving that I was wrong to distrust the reception of such a play in a town with a respectable Jewish population. Interestingly a verbatim play taken from Rachel Corrie’s emails was banned by the trustees of the New York Theatre Workhop, but in Boston the play was not only well received I also had a chance to get a panel together discussing the political problem. Brian Kaufman, who earlier at directed a short film of one of my acts, Bunny, chaired the discussion between Zionists and Palestinians. I still consider that Sunday afternoon a high-profile high-light of my playwriting career. The run was well attended by CIA men, and one of them asked me whose side I was on. Sophocles came to my aid, “it’s a tragedy!” I moaned.
click to read the play online, ctrl-click (mac) or right-click (PC) to download
Flowers Of Red
One of the highlights of my playwrighting career was this panel discussion in Boston