I can’t help but think that there’s another play lurking inside Oslo, J.T. Rogers’ respectful account of how the Israelis and the PLO came to sign the 1993 Oslo Accords. This Oslo would be nastier, livelier, less fair-minded, and memorable enough to force the most jaded of us to care. Because right now, in Rogers’ Oslo, what we care about are negotiations. They could have been between East Timor and Australia, or a couple of boys trading baseball cards. There’s a way in which the Israelis and Palestinians at the center of the drama are incidental to the entire experience.
The problem cuts to the heart of what we consider serious playwriting in the American theater and serious art in general. Success comes down to the weight of the subject matter and nothing could be weightier and more intractable a problem than the Middle East. But it’s precisely the hushed tones of serious reflection that keep us away from, well, actual reflection. It’s a good production, though.Read More