May 19, 2010

Elie Wiesel does not want to be a character in your play...

... even if you meant to use him as the embodiment of "decency, morality, the struggle for human dignity and kindness." Now, if you want to use him as the embodiment of not wanting to be turned into an abstraction and fictionalized....

8 comments:

Brian said...

This may have as much to do with the embarassment of having been taken in by Madoff as it is to being portrayed as an abstract moral figure in the play. It appears from the article Mr. Wiesel didn't object initially to being portrayed in the play; he must have thought it was simply a portrayal of him as one of Madoff's many victims.

T J Sawyer said...

Might this set a precedent? Could Obama object to being a constant character on your blog?

Lem said...

..he must have thought it was simply a portrayal of him as one of Madoff's many victims.

The portrayal of something cannot help but humanise it.

Five Minutes of Heaven.

Damon said...

I was unfamiliar with him, but read one of his books at the encouragement of a friend who was a huge fan. Ever since then I have been struck by the self-importance that he always conveys. I get the impression that he genuinely feels he transcends normal mortal status. It does not help that he is always refered to as "holocaust survivor."

Richard Dolan said...

While I can understand the desire of the theatre company not to offend Wiesel, I think it was a mistake for Wiesel to make threats and a bigger mistake for the theatre to pull the play.

Wiesel has made himself into a public figure who frequently offers his particular moral slant on controversial issues. To some extent he has come to personify that stance. He may not like how he is portrayed in a work of fiction, but that's the price one pays for becoming a public figure. He demeaned himself in making threats about a lawsuit (I think it would have been baseless if brought) to pressure the theatre to cancel the performance. And the theatre didn't show much fortitude in dumping the play or its author. I doubt that they would have done it if the play had portrayed some other public figure (say, a religious or political leader) as a stand-in for an idea or character trait.

A.G. said...

And to think of all those goofy Muslims getting mad when you deliberately insult their faith. Thankfully, here in the US we are all so tolerant of depictions of people in the Arts, and not hyper-sensitive about anything ;-p

I hereby propose we have an "Everybody Write A Play featuring Elie Wiesel and Bernie Madoff Day"!

Alex said...

Surely he wouldn't object to a play about Nazi hunters?

Don't call me Shirley.

William said...

He will be dead soon and belong to the ages and any dramatist who wants to pen him into her soap opera.