By Sarah Kricheff

Published March 26, 2004, issue of March 26, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

In 1946, Ben Hecht wrote a controversial play that publicized a cause he hoped to help: the recognition of a Jewish homeland for Holocaust survivors and resistance to British rule in Palestine.

Set on a Jewish transport ship that is stopped by British forces immediately after World War II, Hecht’s “A Flag Is Born” enjoyed an eight-week run on Broadway — starring Marlon Brando and Paul Muni. It aroused tension and anger in audiences and some denounced it for supporting terrorism. Copies were confiscated by government officials in Canada in response to the play’s anti-British sentiment. Yet somehow, after its Broadway run, it was lost to the archives.

But now, thanks to the American Century Theater, a company dedicated to producing neglected theatrical works, “A Flag Is Born” is back. Under the direction of Steven Mazzol, the play features a cast of 14 and offers a pageant-like use of dialogue, dance and traditional music.

The play “is about a group of people trying to find a place to call home,” Mazzola said. “It is a beautiful play about family, change and compromise.”

Reactions to this production might not rise to the levels of fierce emotions inspired in 1946, but the message remains poignantly relevant.

“It is easy to overlook the situation in Israel — we get acclimated the news reports of violence,” Mazzola said. “A Flag Is Born,” he added, “reminds us of the history of why the violence is continuing.”

“My hope is that it will provoke greater efforts toward peace.”

Gunston Arts Center, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington; March 25-April 24, Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m., March 28, April 3, 4, 18 and 24, 2:30 p.m.; $23-$26, $18-$20 seniors and students; reservations required. (703-553-8782 or www.americancentury.org)

Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.