Discussion of Paradise play comes to campus

University hosts dialogue on play about Arab, Jewish girls living amid Middle East conflict | February 18, 2003

Paradise, a play that was cancelled by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, is still getting center stage with a public reading at the theater and a discussion on Xavier’s campus. The play was intended to serve as an educational tool for area high school students but was pulled after members of the Muslim community and some Playhouse supporters objected to its content. The play depicts the daily struggles and tragic choices of two teenage girls, one Jewish and one Arab, as they live out their lives in the midst of the Middle East conflict. Paradise’s award-winning playwright, Glyn O'Malley is reading the play Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7:00 p.m. at Playhouse in the Park. A question-and-answer session follows to discuss the play and the cancellation of its viewing by Cincinnati high school students. The discussion continues on Monday, Feb. 24, on the University’s campus in Alter Hall, Room 321, at 7:00 p.m. The goal of the dialogue is to listen to and consider the validity of the different meanings that this play may have for members of the Cincinnati audience. Some of the questions and concerns surrounding the play are the complexity of the subject matter, understanding the context of its characters and possible prejudices the play may inadvertently nurture. Others say that the play's cancellation is a move against artistic expression and the freedom of speech. The University’s peace and justice programs and Open House Cincinnati, a multifaith group that conducts interfaith dialogue activities to promote nonviolent relationships, are sponsoring the Monday dialogue. Both events are free to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the Playhouse event, contact Jennifer Grace 859 512-0539. For more information about the dialogue at Xavier, contact Ben Urmston, S.J., 513 745-3320