Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Jerusalem: a play about Spinoza

(I think this is the first recommendation of a play I have done on this blog. She'hechiyanu?) My wife and I had the opportunity this past Sunday to see the Classic Stage Company’s production of New Jerusalem, a play about the interrogation of Spinoza. If you are in NY and can still get tickets (the performance we went to was sold out), I highly recommend it both for intellectual stimulation as well as for the wonderful performance by Fyvush Finkel as the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam. I thought the play gave Spinoza a little too much credit his philosphical arguments, but the playwright (who spoke after the play about his work) deserves a lot of credit for finding a way to present philosophical debate as part of a drama and keep the audience entertained (which judging from the applause and packed house, it was). If you really want to feel like part of the NY intelligentsia, stick around after the play for the lecture series on Spinoza held after every Sunday’s performance (you have to attend the play, but are entitled after that to come back for all the lectures. Rebecca Goldstein is slated for one of them, so if I had I to choose one, that would be it. Unfortunately, I did not know about it until after we went this week).

(P.S. In each of the past two years Classic Stage Company has done a Shakespearean work (last year: Hamlet; this year: Richard III) starring Michael Crumpsty. You missed your chance until next year, but Crumpsty is amazing.)


  1. Fort hose seeking confirmation of their suspicions, it may just be here. Recommending a play about a heretic? What does that say about them?! ;-)

  2. I'm taking my Hebrew School class and their parents to see this play. What can you tell me that would help prepare them for the performance. We've covered Spinoza's later philosophy. They are a Bnai Mitzvot class but very, very bright.
    thanks, Marrose

  3. Thanks for the review. I’m looking forward to seeing the play in the near future. Concerning the lecture after the play you write “Rebecca Goldstein is slated for one of them, so if I had I to choose one, that would be it.” Hmm, I was at the YIVO a while back to hear Goldstein lecture on her book, she made a lame impression on me, discouraging me from reading her book altogether.

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