Infinitheatre, Presenting a Play by Oren Safdie, Sheds Light On Middle East Conflict Through Poignant Farce

MR. GOLDBERG GOES TO TEL AVIV 2017 at the St. James Theatre – January 30th to February 19th, 2017.

Four Time New York Times Critics’ Pick Playwright Oren Safdie Returns to Infinitheatre to Deliver a Jaw-rattling Ride Through the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.

Montreal, January 18th, 2017 – Every year Infinitheatre touts Quebec’s finest playwrights in their season and Oren Safdie’s Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv is no exception. Safdie is a four time New York Times Critics’ Pick playwright who brought Infinitheatre the controversial hit Unseamly in 2014, a nervy play that dealt with sexual harassment in the garment industry. Even bolder, Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv is a fast-paced poignant farce that jumps headlong into a jaw-rattling ride through the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, where allegiances constantly shift, religion is irreverent, and politics is a matter of survival.

Mr. Goldberg tells the story of an award-winning, Jewish Canadian gay author named Tony Goldberg, played by critically acclaimed performer David Gale, who arrives in Tel Aviv to deliver a blistering attack on the Israeli government to the country’s left leaning literate. But before he leaves his hotel room, the conflict in the Middle East comes to him.

Mr. Goldberg is not only a hilarious joy ride on the back of an inveterate conflict, it is a play that reaches out to everyone with one message.  As Safdie puts it, “if you think you can understand the complexities of the situation in the Middle East and make a judgement from reading a few articles or watching a couple of documentaries, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”  Safdie is well positioned to tackle the presumptions many outsiders have regarding the reality of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.  He’s a celebrated Montreal playwright who was born to Israeli parents.  His mother, originally from Poland, spent the war in hiding and his father, a descendant from Aleppo, Syria, was born in Haifa before Israel became a state.  In fact both of Safdie’s parents were living in Palestine when it became the state of Israel in 1948. Safdie traveled to Israel every summer as a boy to visit relatives and completed a three-month service with the Israeli pre-army. His family had a house in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv springs from this life experience in Jerusalem. While Safdie is technically an Israeli citizen by way of his father, he doesn’t consider himself a “true Israeli” because he’s exempt from doing a mandatory three-year military service… He instead has the option of going to Montreal where the biggest disputes have to do with language.

Infinitheatre’s Artistic Director and the Director of Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv, Guy Sprung, is also sensitive to the material. In fact, Sprung hosts discussions after certain shows in the lobby where audience members can voice their enjoyment or displeasure of the piece presented. “We want to use the delicious comedy that Oren has orchestrated as a gateway to understanding,” says Sprung. He goes on to explain that “it is critical that each character, from each side, is fully drawn in a three-dimensional manner. Conflict is part of human nature and it is important that we not forget how to disagree with one another with integrity,” Sprung maintains. It may be only the equivalent of a drop of water in the Mediterranean, but Infinitheatre hopes, in some small way, to contribute to peace from the ground up. Sprung draws out the humanity in each of the three characters in the play while exploring their respectively entrenched opposing political/religious views. He has intentionally cast a Jewish actor, Howard Rosenstein, in the role of a Palestinian and an Arab actor, Mohsen El Gharbi, in a Jewish role as a symbolic testament to our universal humanity.

Infinitheatre is Quebec’s premiere English-language theatre producing original Quebec works. Notably, both Mr. Goldberg and Unseamly were finalists in Infinitheatre’s hallmark annual playwriting competition Write-On-Q!. Each year, finalists from the competition receive a public staged reading through Infinitheatre’s The Pipeline series and often production in upcoming seasons. In addition to these initiatives, Infinitheatre provokes and nurtures the best in contemporary Quebec playwriting, and has pushed the craft to the next level by founding the Quebec Playwright’s Unit in 2014 (aka: The Unit). Infinitheatre challenges writers to develop their craft to its highest level and ensures that Quebec English-language plays are produced and celebrated in theatres across Canada and internationally.

Infinitheatre: developing, producing, and brokering new Quebec work.

Infinitheatre presents:
Jan. 30th- Feb 19th, Tues-Sat. at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm
At St. James Theatre, 265 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal, QC H2Y 1M6
Tickets: Regular: $25, Students/Seniors: $20, Groups: $17, Infinitheatre 6Packs available (6 tickets for $100), all tickets +tax.
Box Office: 514 987-1774 ext. 104; or

Infinitheatre is generously supported by: Season sponsors CN and Hydro-Quebec

Infinitheatre gratefully acknowledges the support of Ezio Carosielli and the Rialto and St. James Theatres. Infinitheatre also thanks our production sponsor Hotel Le Cantlie Suites

To interview Infinitheatre Artistic Director Guy Sprung or Writer Oren Safdie and/or any participant of Mr. Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv –
Media Relations: Gen Blouin, (514) 887-8187

Gustavo Ott Wins the Aguijón Theater Playwriting Award in Chicago for BRUTALITY

Read the full article from Aguijón Theater here, and find the English translation directly below the Spanish text:

Chicago, 31 de diciembre de 2016— Aguijo?n Theater Company e Instituto Cervantes de Chicago se complacen en anunciar a Gustavo Alfonso Ott como ganador del Segundo Concurso Internacional de Dramaturgia Hispana 2016.

Ott, escritor venezolano, obtiene este preciado galardo?n con la obra “Brutality”.

Este segundo concurso de dramaturgia atrajo la participacio?n de 179 obras de autores provenientes de Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Espan?a, Me?xico, Peru?, Puerto Rico, Repu?blica Dominicana, Uruguay, Estados Unidos y Venezuela.

El jurado estuvo compuesto por el dramaturgo uruguayo Dino Armas de Montevideo, Uruguay; el escritor y filo?logo espan?ol Jose? Luis Garci?a Barrientos de Madrid, Espan?a; la dramaturga y periodista cubana Teresa Dovalpage, de Taos, Nuevo Me?xico, EEUU; el dramaturgo y profesor de teatro cubano Abel Gonza?lez Melo de Madrid, Espan?a, y el escritor y periodista mexicano Gerardo Ca?rdenas de Chicago, EEUU.

“Brutality” presenta dos actos y siete personajes. De acuerdo a Dino Armas se trata de una “obra bien dialogada y con interesante retrato de la sociedad actual” a lo cual Abel Gonza?lez Melo an?ade que “Brutality” es “viva, provocadora, entretenida. Creo que es muy atractiva para una audiencia mu?ltiple en ese tono documental/ficcional que maneja”.

Aguijo?n Theater presentara? una lectura dramatizada de “Brutality” el 27 de marzo pro?ximo a las 7 p.m. en el Instituto Cervantes de Chicago.

Fiel a su espi?ritu de difusio?n del teatro de origen hispano dentro los Estados Unidos y de promocio?n de las escrituras esce?nicas contempora?neas, el Concurso de Dramaturgia Hispana de Chicago fue creado en el 2014 por la compan?i?a de teatro Aguijo?n Theater con el propo?sito de establecer un dia?logo entre los autores, en su bu?squeda de un discurso genuino y de exploracio?n en las nuevas tendencias de la disciplina teatral.

En conmemoracio?n de una de las efeme?rides ma?s importantes en el mundo literario del 2016, el IV Centenario de la muerte de dos gigantes de las letras universales: Shakespeare y Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Aguijo?n prosigue con su tarea de promocio?n dramatu?rgica.

Este concurso bianual cuenta con el apoyo del Instituto Cervantes de Chicago.

Aguijo?n Theater fue fundada en julio de 1989 y se encuentra celebrando su vige?simo se?ptimo aniversario como la compan?i?a de teatro en espan?ol ma?s antigua de Chicago.

Chicago, December 31, 2016 – The Aguijón Theater Company and the Cervantes Institute of Chicago are pleased to announce the winner of the 2nd International Competition for Hispanic Drama 2016 is Gustavo Alfonso Ott.

Ott, Venezuelan writer, wins this award with his work “Brutality.” This year, the competition drew 179 submissions by authors from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Puerto, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela.

Members of the jury included: Uruguayan playwright Dino Armas of Montevideo, the Spanish writer and philologist José Luis García Barrientos of Madrid, the Cuban playwright and journalist Teresa Dovalpage of Taos, New Mexico; The Cuban playwright and theater teacher Abel González Melo of Madria, and the Mexican writer and journalist Gerardo Cárdenas of Chicago.

‘Brutality’ consists of two acts and seven characters. According to Dino Armas, it is a ‘play with great dialogue and an interesting portrait of the current society” to which Abel González Melo adds that ‘Brutality’ is “lively, provocative, entertaining. I think it’s very appealing to a variety of audiences with its documentary / fictional tone.

The Aguijón Theater will present a dramatized reading of ‘Brutality’ on March 27 at 7pm at the Cervantes Institute in Chicago.

True to the spirit of Hispanic theater diffused within that of the United States and promoting contemporary stage writing, the Chicago Hispanic Drama Competition was created in 2014 by the Aguijón Theater Company for the purpose of establishing a dialogue among authors in their search for genuine discourse and exploration in new theatrical movements.

Aguijón continues his task of dramaturgical promotion in commemoration of two literary giants: Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. This biannual contest is supported by the Cervantes Institute of Chicago. Founded in July 1989, the Aguijón Theater celebrated its 27th anniversary as the oldest theater company in Spanish in Chicago.

TheaterWorks’ ‘Relativity’ An Entertaining Balance Of Comedy, Tragedy


Lest you feel intimidated by seeing a play about Albert Einstein, a name synonymous with genius, know that title of Mark St. Germain‘s new bio drama “Relativity” is a cheap pun.

The play, having its premiere at TheaterWorks through Nov. 23 (yes, the run has been extended again), is about Albert Einstein, and of course his theory of relativity is discussed. But it’s also about his relatives, particularly a daughter he abandoned at birth.

Those are two heavy topics for a short, three-person play. St. Germain, the prolific playwright whose “Dancing Lessons” and “Freud’s Last Session” have been staged at TheaterWorks in the past, has specialized in smart yet accessible plays about world history, philosophy and social conscience. He’s like the Public Broadcasting Service of the regional theater realm.

St. Germain works the concept of relativity into the fabric of this new work. He balances darkness with lightness. He delves into Einstein’s private life while riffing on the absurd scale of his worldwide fame. He balances comedy and tragedy.

Having an internationally known film star, Richard Dreyfuss, play this iconic brainiac makes St. Germain’s job considerably easier. Dreyfuss has the rare ability to underplay and overwhelm at the same time. He has a laid-back majesty supremely suited to this tricky role.

Dreyfuss shares St. Germain’s concern about lightening the drama whenever possible. He makes a funny popping sound with his mouth. He can play out the word “Well…” into multiple syllables. He delights in a toy on his desk.

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.