Last week, the Economist website’s Prospero blog, which provides cultural commentary, brought news of a play that’s been bouncing around Belgium and France since December 2014. It’s called Djihad, and it’s about the quest of three young Belgian Muslims to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State. But it’s not what you might think: “Despite the serious subject, the hit Brussels play is a comedy, poking fun at the characters’ racism, anti-Semitism and ignorance.” The post is here.
European plays have dealt with such subjects, probably much more often than I know. Sometime in the naughts, if memory serves, a German script about a suicide bomber turned up in the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival; in 2005, The New Group and The Play Company co-presented a Russian play, by the Presnyakov brothers, explicitly called Terrorism. But off the top of my head I can’t think of any contemporary American plays that have addressed terror. Maybe, despite our fears, the subject hasn’t percolated long enough—or maybe my impression is wrong.
Meanwhile, last week’s print edition of The Economist carried a survey of current and recent New York plays that have dealt with our financial situation, ranging from The Humans, on Broadway, to The Way West, at the Bank Street Theatre. That article is here. One of the plays discussed is Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo, which I wrote about here.