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The Irish Hebrew Lesson
Lessons earned, lessons still yet learned...
Yesterday on our zoom call a young man from Scotland took an unexpected tack as he was feeling the weight of the world, the reverberation of wars, death, tears and years of grief ahead. In the middle of his expression he asked why don’t we pay attention to how peace came to Ireland years ago.
Suddenly my memory was jogged. There I was 22 years old back in 1978 Piccadilly, London, on Rupert Street in the tiny tech booth of The Almost Free Theater staring out onto the stage awaiting my next cue.
Two actors are confronted face to face with their realities in the World Stage Premiere of ‘The Irish Hebrew Lesson’ by Wolf Mankowitz.
Set in Ireland in 1921, this is the deceptively simple story of a young revolutionary who seeks shelter from an elderly refugee. Separated by their very different backgrounds they are united in their fear of the outside world.
Recording c.1991 • RTE Radio1 • 41 minutes: The Irish Hebrew Lesson
Now the memories are flooding in…
How I took my ten-speed bicycle I had ridden across the US in 1976 just in case I didn’t get the job I’d ride around Europe.
How I ended up helping to produce original plays in the theater that was part of Ed Berman’s Inter-Action, a cohort of peoples from around the world living and working together collectively on a number of social initiatives.
How Manfred immediately became my pal, still to this day… the German and the Jew.
How Tina from Ireland on our theater team heard my mumblings and questioning my tribal heritage while we were producing the season that included ‘The Irish Hebrew Lesson.’
How she referred me to a kibbutz she had been on the year before.
How I left London to explore my curiosities in Israel.
How I lived, worked and witnessed history of old, still in the making and fresh wounds that seeped into my being, deep into my soul.
How the ‘The Irish Hebrew Lesson’ was invited to the Israeli Theater Festival celebrating Israel’s 30 year anniversary. How we toured the show to three theaters throughout Israel.
How it wasn’t until I left Israel and landed in Greece months later did my shoulders drop and my muscles relax from the mixed emotions I was carrying in my body.
How I now sit here in this very moment, 45 years later, heartbroken in the depth of my feelings and lack of understanding how can we still keep on doing this to each other.
How can we break the cycle of violence and hate.
How can we live into a story of life flourishing for all.
How can we.
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