Amidst an increasing climate of far right ideology worldwide and following a doubling of hate-crime incidents in the UK, One Jewish Boy makes a timely return with its West End debut. Written as an urgent response to overt antisemitism, this compelling two-hander explores a young family’s struggle against fear, prejudice and identity looking at the inheritances that haunt us.
Written by multi-award winning writer Stephen Laughton, current Writer in Residence for the Astrophysics Department at the American Museum of Natural History, the visceral, biting play heads to the West End for four weeks only following its Old Red Lion Theatre sell-out success in December 2018/January 2019.
Set in London, Europe and New York, One Jewish Boy captures key moments over a ten-year relationship between Jesse, a nice Jewish boy from North London and the no-so Jewish Alex, the mixed heritage woman he falls desperately in love with. Jesse is paranoid and frightened which is messing up his relationship, his job, his daughter and his life. He has every reason to be frightened. Antisemitism rears its ugly head in a horrific way every 70 or so years, the last time it killed six million Jews, the time before that it resulted in their complete expulsion from eastern Europe – and with a 34% rise in violent assaults against Jewish people in the last year alone, Jesse can’t bear to think of what this might all mean. Not with a 9-month-old daughter to protect.
With antisemitism and racism rife in political parties and recent highly publicised hate-crime incidents, One Jewish Boy asks if the fear of hatred, could be worse than hate itself…?
Stephen Laughton said: “One Jewish Boy was written from a place of tangible fear in 2018. It’s a year after the first production and it feels like it’s getting worse, there’s been a doubling of attacks on Jewish people in the last few months, we’re less safe in our homes, in schools and on the street…there are times when I worry if we’re seeing history about to repeat itself.
“Antisemitism is insidious, it festers and it refuses to go away. It’s real, it’s tangible and it’s terrifying. After the last few weeks in both London and New York, the play has never felt more relevant, more important to me.
“It’s of course wonderful to be working with my creative team to take this new, longer version of the play to the West End and perform it to more audiences than ever but it’s also heartbreaking that we are still having to talk about these issues in 2020.”
One Jewish Boy is at Trafalgar Studios 10th March – 4th April 2020.