BERNIE: I swear to you, I wanted to tell him. I almost did. I came very close. I wanted to tell him, don’t know why. Don’t know why. Wiesel told, something from Midrash or Talmud, something, he told me it said:
ELIE:Life is for planting trees in whose shade you never expect to sit.—p. 16.
You can still see Imagining Madoff, of course. But you’ll have to travel. Auditions are currently underway for the show at Stageworks/Hudson, a 100-seat theater in Hudson, N.Y. The run is slated to start on July 21. Though the Stageworks version will be the Wiesel-free rewrite, there’s a difference. According to Artistic Director Laura Margolis, her company has no plans to run the script past the Wiesel Foundation.
“I feel that this is a play that is Shakespearean in scope,” Margolis says. “Not only is it beautifully poetical, but it speaks to humanity in a way that is ageless. Who would think that you could take a character, Bernard Madoff, who none of us know and none of us will ever be able to delve into the mind of, and actually create a human being that we in some way can understand?”
But for now, seeing a Shakespearean Madoff won’t be an option for D.C. theater-goers. And it’s unclear whether it ever will be. Margolin speaks cautiously about the idea of trying again.
“You know, I like the idea of a Jewish theater. I like the idea of a theater where Jewish issues are discussed, where Jewish drama is alive. Ari has expressed interest in other pieces of my work, and I welcome his interest.”
Roth is slightly less guarded—if not exactly fearless. “This can be an exclusive to the City Paper: I will produce that play in September 2011 and open the season with it. Provided we do not get sued.”