A William Shakespeare play will always draw a crowd.
Earlier today, I attended the final performance of A Winter’s Tale at The Pearl Theatre Company in New York City.
The play is the story of a king who in fit of jealousy, accuses his pregnant wife of cheating on him with his best friend. His wife dies soon after the birth of their daughter. Refusing to believe that the child is his, the king sends the child away with a trusted adviser who is eaten by bears. A shepherd find the baby and raises her as his own.
Sixteen years later, his daughter is now growing up and in love. She is in love with the prince, who happens to be the son of the best friend who her father accused her mother of cheating on him with. His father does not approve of the match and the young lovers run away to the neighboring kingdom, which happens to be the birthplace of the girl.
I’ve seen many Shakespearean plays, but this afternoon was a first for me. It was entertaining, but not the best.
A major historical event, some may argue, is best told by those who lived through it.
Exodus, by Leon Uris, is one of the best selling novels of all time.
Exodus is the story of the birth of the modern state of Israel, told through the eyes of several different characters. The main characters are Ari Ben Canaan and Kitty Fremont. Ari is son of Barak Ben Canaan and his wife, Sarah. Barak survived a pogrom as a boy where his father was killed. Avenging his father’s death, Barak killed the man who was responsible for starting the pogrom. Fearing for his life and his brother’s life, Barak and his brother escaped Eastern Europe and made their way to what was then Palestine. Kitty Fremont is the widow of an American serviceman who was killed in World War II. Wanting to help out the refugees and survivors from Nazi Europe, Kitty arrives in Palestine as a nurse. She and Ari slowly fall in love, but events surrounding them may pull them apart for good.
I’ve heard about this book, but this is the first time I have ever read it. What struck me about this book, was the historical detail of struggle to obtain peace and security in pre-1948 Israel. Even when I know much of the history, to experience it from a personal perspective hit home in a way that floored me as a reader.