Reporting from The Page-to-Stage Festival: ‘The Law of Return’ by Alison Drucker

Playwright Martin Blank. Photo courtesy of Martin's website martinblnkauthor.com

Playwright Martin Blank. Photo courtesy of Martin’s website martinblankauthor.com

The Law of Return is Martin Blank’s emotionally-gripping, thoughtful, and timely 80-minute show inspired by mid-80’s news events concerning the Jonathan Jay Pollard espionage case. Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst based in Suitland, Maryland, removed thousands of classified documents from the U.S. Navy’s Anti-terrorist Alert Center and gave them to Israel. He still is serving a 30-year prison term, which is set to end in November 2015.

The title of the play refers to the Israeli law which grants Jews the right to go to Israel and become citizens. Pollard is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust. Once found out, he unsuccessfully sought safety at the Israeli Embassy under this law. The action of the play explores the possible motivations for his espionage and suggests painfully conflicting loyalties both to the U.S. and to Israel as a Jewish homeland. It also bears on the tension between Israel’s special role as a Jewish homeland and its existence as one sovereign state among many.

Playwright Martin Blank is a local asset. Not only has he authored numerous plays, but he was the Founding Artistic Director of Theatre J. For the past five years, he has served as Artistic Director of American Ensemble Theater, which sponsored this production. Elise Thoron directed.

There were solid, convincing performances from all three cast members –   Anthony van Eyck, Rick Foucheux, and Slice Hicks, who portrayed the naval officer in charge of Pollard, Pollard’s Israeli contact, and Pollard himself. Rick especially aced his role – probably the most complex one, transforming from kind and mensch-y father figure to Machiavellian practitioner of Real Politik.

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If you missed the Page-to-Stage reading there will be another reading at The Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center on Sunday, November 10th at 6 p.m.

thelawofreturn

LINKS

Read a synopsis of The Law of Return.

Martin Blank’s website.

conversation with Martin Blank and Director Elise Thoron by Keith Loria  about The Law of Return on DCTheatreScene.

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