Sonoma State University hosts the acclaimed solo performance "Wrestling Jerusalem," written and performed by Aaron Davidman and directed by Michael John Garcés, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. at Evert B. Person Theatre. Set in America, Israel and Palestine, Wrestling Jerusalem follows one man's journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Davidman's solo performance is a personal story that grapples with the complexities of identity, history and social justice. Giving voice to over a dozen different characters, the play sheds light on one of the most entrenched conflicts of our time. Based on interviews conducted by Davidman himself, the characters display unexpected points of view: Holocaust survivors; an Arab commuter snarled in traffic traveling from one side of the Israeli West Bank wall to the other; an Israeli Special Forces commander.
The performance includes singing, stylized movement, and even a story in the vein of the Kabbalah. Davidman emphasizes that this is not a protest play, but that understanding the Middle East requires holding "a simultaneity of truths."
Wrestling Jerusalem is part of a three-day residency for Davidman at Sonoma State. He will hold workshops with Theatre Arts and Dance students on performance and personal narrative, and work with students at The HUB, Sonoma State's multicultural center, on leadership skills. This work is part of a multi-year effort by the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance to examine more closely the role of race, gender, faith, social class, age, and sexuality in the creation of performance.
"This is a unique and special opportunity, to have such an accomplished artist not just share his work but train our students on how to perform their stories, either from, or very much not from, their own personal cultures and backgrounds," says Scott Horstein, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.
Davidman will also visit the THAR 160 Learning Community: Theatre, Dance, the Artistic Process and You, an introduction to performance studies for 100 first-year general education and Theater Arts and Dance students combined.
Tickets are free to SSU students, staff, and faculty; general admission is $25. The event is a co-production of The HUB and the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.sonoma.edu.
About Wrestling Jerusalem
The San Francisco Chronicle calls Wrestling Jerusalem "Riveting!... yearning beauty... Deep sadness and wistful hope." Wrestling Jerusalem played off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres and has continued to tour nationally. It received its premiere at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco in 2014. The play was commissioned by Theatre J in Washington DC and supported in part by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, TJT and Playwrights Foundation.
About Aaron Davidman
Aaron Davidman (writer and performer) is a playwright, director, actor and producer. He served as artistic director of Traveling Jewish Theatre in San Francisco from 2001 to 2011. Among many projects there, he co-wrote and directed the international collaboration "Blood Relative" about the Israeli-Palestinian story, directed TJT's critically acclaimed production of "Death Of A Salesman" and co-wrote and performed in "God's Donkey," which toured the United States. He originated the role of Momik Neuman in Corey Fischer's Kennedy Center Award-winning play "See Under: Love," based on the David Grossman novel. As an actor he has performed at SF Playhouse, California Shakespeare Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Shotgun Players, Theatre J, Arena Stage, and other theatres. He is a recipient of the New Generations Fellowship from Theatre Communications Group.