Total War, a semi-finalist in the 2009 Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition, is a five-act play set at a Catholic university where the student newspaper has published a Holocaust denial advertisement. Before faculty, students, and staff can begin the expected dialogue on free speech and religious pluralism, an anarchist-cell using the nom de guerre of “Total War” begins a campaign of guerrilla art attacks.
This will be the third draft of Total War to be presented at Cambridge’s Outpost 186. The first reading, in April of last year inspired a lone protester to picket the reading from the sidewalk.
The reading will feature the talents of local actors, including: Trudi Goodman, Kate Heffernan, Dan Schneider, Savanah Shaughnessy, Tom Sprague, Kendall Stewart and Matthew Zahnzinger. Anika M. Colvin-Hannibal will stage manage. Three more cast members are to be announced shortly.
Though a work of fiction, Total War was inspired by events I witnessed while attending graduate school. The play explores the history (and potential futures) of Jewish-Catholic relations, historical memory, and the conflict between grass-roots activism and institutional power. It is a story made timely after the recent scandal regarding Vatican’s recent lifting of the excommunication against the anti-Semitic Society of Saint Pius X and its Holocaust-denying Bishop, Richard Williamson.
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