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End Of Scene Blog Entries
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013
Ken makes a scene about why he wrote LIFE ON PAPER
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[EXCERPTED REVIEW] Broadway World makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[REVIEW] The Houston Press makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
SUNDAY, FEB 3, 2013
Ken makes a scene about an upcoming reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre
FRIDAY, FEB 1, 2013
Ken makes a scene about joining Season Two of House Of Cards
SATURDAY, DEC 8, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a letter from Liz Engelman
THURSDAY, DEC 6, 2012
Ken makes a scene about "Red State Blue State" on This American Life
MONDAY, NOV 5, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a stage adaptation of Warrior Class for the BBC.
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 2012
Ken makes a scene about participating in Baltimore Center Stage's MY AMERICA PROJECT, directed by Hal Hartley
SUNDAY, JUL 29, 2012
Errol Louis makes a scene about Warrior Class on NY1's INSIDE CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY, JUL 25, 2012
Head critic for NYTimes makes a scene about Warrior Class on WQXR's Around Broadway.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: Variety makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JAN 24, 2012
Ken makes a scene about The Montgomery New's Review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, JAN 19, 2012
Ken makes a scene about STAGE Magazine's review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, DEC 1, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a remarkable piece of writing about the American theatre
TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a character's stage transformation
MONDAY, NOV 21, 2011
Ken makes a scene about WARRIOR CLASS online
TUESDAY, SEP 27, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Asian American Performers Action Committee
MONDAY, SEP 26, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the fast work of SCR's casting department
FRIDAY, SEP 16, 2011
Ken makes a scene about Anne Garcia-Romero's post about LoNyLa
WEDNESDAY, JUL 6, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's $150,000 grant to FALLOW
SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2011
A letter from Kaitlin Hopkins - Head of the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State
TUESDAY, FEB 15, 2011
Ken makes a scene about science plays.
WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Intelligence-Slave making the Houston Chronicles Top Theater Shows of 2010 list
TUESDAY, OCT 19, 2010
Ken makes a scene about intra out-group persecution.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about why theater is not a humanity.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Athol Fugard's criticism about the failure of modern dramatists
MONDAY, JUL 26, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the diverse audience of Queens Theater in the Park
SUNDAY, JUN 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the Jewish Herald-Voice's profile of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
WEDNESDAY, JUN 2, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Lee Williams's review of Intelligence-Slave in the Houston Press
TUESDAY, JUN 1, 2010
Ken makes a scene about his Intelligence-Slave interview with culturemap.com
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Everett Evans's review in the Houston Chronicle
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
Ken makes a scene about sharing a collective spirituality in the theater
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Ken makes a scene about seeing the bird through the feathers
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about tech, letting go of the play and making discoveries in production
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Press
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene for the Alley Theatre's Mark Bly
WEDNESDAY, APR 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about being playwright 151 in Adam Szymkowicz's blog.
THURSDAY, APR 8, 2010
Ken makes a scene about changing the name of his play.
THURSDAY, MAR 18, 2010
Ken makes a scene about pundits and why Tom Hanks is "injecting" racism into World War II.
TUESDAY, MAR 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about writing "winning" dialogue.
MONDAY, MAR 15, 2010
Ken makes a scene about agents and the ecology of show business.
SATURDAY, MAR 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the beauty of the theater actor
THURSDAY, DEC 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about non-English language productions
TUESDAY, NOV 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about reviewing business books for theater artists
WEDNESDAY, NOV 4, 2009
Ken makes a scene about THE BIG REWRITE!
TUESDAY, OCT 27, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the discovery of an algorithm for happiness (7ZJJBYD9U6PX)
THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Holocaust fiction as a literary genre
TUESDAY, OCT 13, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Asians who don't go to the theater.
MONDAY, OCT 5, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the challenge of bravery in the theater.
MONDAY, SEP 28, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the death of Tragedy and Comedy.
TUESDAY, SEP 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Dave Matthews's statement that racism is "everywhere" in America.
WEDNESDAY, SEP 16, 2009
Ken makes a scene about why playwrights need websites.
End of Scene Blog

The evolution of fiction into myth
Thursday, October 22, 2009
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When artists began to submit proposals for the construction of a Holocaust memorial in Berlin, there were many thoughtful objectors who contended that no such monument should ever be built. Among their arguments was that no monument could truly capture the horror created in a state-mandated, systematic attempt at the extermination of a people. I suspect that this contention is true. But, given the fact that there will soon be no survivors left to serve as living testaments, the fate of the Holocaust's legacy now falls to our generation. How are we remembering it? Interestingly, but not altogether counter-intuitively, since, ever more, today's artists don't have visceral memories of the Holocaust, our generation's lasting mark on this legacy may be the mainstreaming of Holocaust fiction as a literary genre. What does this portend?

I don't mean to discount the great body of literary work that was created in reaction to the Holocaust, but stories taking place afore the background of the Holocaust have, heretofore, never been so mainstream. Defiance, Inglourious Basterds, The Reader, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Valkyrie each of these works bears at least one of the following characteristics: It was written/directed by a non-Jew. It is historically fantastical. It starred bonafide box-office mega-stars; and/or it was created and distributed by a major studio. The Holocaust genre has emerged as a viable fictional genre for creative people of all stripes. Why? and is this a good thing?

In writing Intelligence-Slave, my contribution to the genre of Holocaust fiction, I did extensive research and worked in residence at The Nassau County Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center. I befriended survivors and my eyes opened in very important ways. But, as I wrote the play, I struggled mightily with notions of producing historical verisimilitude, thinking that such efforts would best serve to honor people who suffered so mightily.

Then I read articles that preceded the release of Quentin Tarrantino's Inglourious Basterds and I started to see phrases like "Jewish revenge fantasy" and "Kosher porn." In an article in The Atlantic, the horror director Eli Roth, one of the stars of Inglourious Basterds stated, "It's almost a deep sexual satisfaction of wanting to beat Nazis to death, an orgasmic feeling ..." Another film-maker described the film as "... a Jewish wet dream." I wasn't sure what to make of this. Was the rise of Holocaust literature as a genre preserving the memory of the Holocaust, or was it turning the memory into fantasy?

I began to consider whether any singular work of literature has truly altered the course of human behavior, serving, in perpetuity, as a bloody-head-on-a-spike at the gates of history, effectively warning us of bad deeds from the past. I struggled to make a list. Though Upton Sinclair elicited great change in his day, is his muckraking having an impact on the power-brokers on Wall Street? Is Uncle Tom's Cabin still guiding the on-going debate about race, labor and human-trafficking in America? No. I came to see that every work of fiction belongs to the time it was written in and thus, its impact is largely contemporary. Fiction's job is not to chronicle. We have history for that. Fiction's ambition should be to evolve into myth, thereby attaining a means to speak to our collective souls.

As the Holocaust begins to fade from visceral memory, we should prepare for the fact that the work made about it (and there is no indication that the volume of work is slowing) is becoming less about a reaction to actual events, but more a meditation about how knowledge of these events has changed our souls. In short, it is becoming more mythic, more deeply in line with the universal stories that journey with us from birth until death. As we enter the wake of one of the most terrible genocides in the history of mankind, what stories will we tell about a demon that was born when human nature was manipulated and shaped by circumstances and the hands of a powerful madman? Will we tell heroic and violent stories about how the demon was vanquished? Will we revel too much in the violence? The results remain to be seen.

If you are interested in reading an interesting (and perhaps over-stated) historical account of the roots of anti-Semitism and out-group persecution, I would suggest that you check out R. I. Moore's The Formation of a Persecuting Society. "Heretics and Jews," Moore argues, "owed their persecution in the first place not to the hatred of the people but to the decisions of princes and prelates." His thesis (supported with documents) supposes that in the Middle-Ages, huge disparities in wealth and the threat of revolution caused enough concern that land owners and corrupt Church officials made a concerted effort to divide society into out-groups. Then they turned these out-groups against each other, distracting the populace and beginning a cycle of violence that continues today. In light of the fact that the top 1% of the United States is currently wealthier than the bottom 95% combined, and the timbre of the debate over important issues like health-care and human rights has become cartoonishly dogmatic, it is, at the very least, an interesting thesis to consider.

If you are interested in actively keeping a historical account of the Holocaust alive, I would suggest that you contact my friend Irving Roth at The Holocaust Research Center Temple Judea Manhasset. He coordinates an "Adopt a Survivor" program in which you can adopt a survivor and share his or her story, keeping a vital historical and oral memory of the Holocaust alive.

Incidentally, American Theater, people of all stripes have adopted survivors. The idea is to be called upon to tell these stories one day. A little meta-theater anyone?

end of scene
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