Mr Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv
Infinitheatre presents Oren Safdie’s controversial dark comedy
By Byron Toben
Oren Safdie sure isn’t afraid to take on controversial topics. The Montreal-raised, now U.S. based playwright of twelve produced works created a lot of controversy with his Unseemly a few years ago, relating sexist behaviour by the Montreal founder of American Apparel.
Now, he plunges into the dilemmas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He manages to accomplish this within a truly funny dark comedy. Mr Goldberg, a famous Canadian-Jewish writer (David Gale), is invited to Tel Aviv by an NGO to speak against Israeli actions concerning Palestinians on its borders.
The character seems a stand-in for American Jewish playwright Tony Kushner, famous for his anti-Zionist views. When held hostage by an Arab extremist (Howard Rosenstein) bent on a mass killing, Goldberg finds that his protestations that he sympathizes with their causes provides little traction for his own safety, especially since he is a homosexual.
The serious issues are punctuated by clever dialogue and all kinds of props ranging from dirty socks to a Rubik’s cube to a Teddy bear to a tea set.
The whole takes place in Goldberg’s beachside hotel room, periodically visited by a bumbling bellhop (Mochsen El Ghabi).
The serious issues are punctuated by clever dialogue and all kinds of props ranging from dirty socks to a Rubik’s cube to a Teddy bear to a tea set. Even a ham sandwich may play a role.
So many ultra liberal intellectuals among the Jewish Diaspora, not resident in the actuality of living in Israel, are quick to condemn every Israeli move to protect itself, besieged on all sides since its establishment in 1948 and immediate invasion to obliterate it. As one of the characters observes, it does what it must just to survive.
Infinitheatre, which first featured this show as a reading in its annual Pipeline series in 2014, has shepherded it to this full production. Superb direction by Artistic director Guy Sprung and stand out contributions by set lighting, sound and costume people make this a Season 2017 “must see” on many counts.
Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv continues until
February 19. EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 25.
at the Théâtre St-James, 265 St-Jacques, Montreal
Tickets and information at 514-987-1774 ext.104 or infinitheatre.com
Images: Brian Morel
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club