The Drama Book Shop is thrilled to welcome Rena Potok in celebration of the publication of The Collected Plays of Chaim Potok.
Chaim Potok was an internationally beloved, best-selling author of novels, histories and biographies, young adult fiction, children’s books and plays. Potok’s novel The Chosen has sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide, has been widely translated, and was featured for ten weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
The Collected Plays of Chaim Potok is the authoritative, first-ever collection of his plays. Chaim Potok's daughter Rena Potok, a professor of literature and writing, wrote the introduction which presents the history of the plays, a literary analysis of their central themes and motifs, and a discussion of her father's theory of culture confrontation. The book will be published by Monkfish on September 15, 2018 (Hardcover, 292 pages, $26.95, ISBN: 978-1-93968172-2).
The five plays in this volume were originally produced and premiered in Philadelphia. Three of the plays – The Carnival, The Gallery, and The Play of Lights – are dramatizations of scenes from the novels The Chosen, The Promise, and My Name is Asher Lev (respectively). Out of the Depths is an original work depicting the life of Russian Jewish writer and ethnographer S. Ansky. The Chosen is a full-length adaption of its fictional namesake.
The plays feature characters struggling with the collision of the culture in where they were raised and the culture they come to inhabit – the world of psychoanalytic theory, modern art, Russian literature, and Japanese culture. At the same time, the characters strive to navigate the devotion and conflict of father-son relationships, the complexities of friendship, and a developing sense of self.
In their prefaces to the plays, directors David Bassuk, Aaron Posner, and Carol Rocamora share their personal reflections on directing the plays and on their theatrical collaborations with Chaim Potok. Detailed stage notes accompany each of the plays, including original production and cast lists, and notes on the characters, the set and lighting design.
Among the topics Rena Potak will touch on:
- The history of Chaim Potok’s plays
- The importance of the plays and their publication now
- How Chaim Potok’s books have influenced his readers, and how the plays do the same
- The relevance of the plays to contemporary audiences
- A literary analysis of the central themes and how the plays embody Potok’s ideas about culture confrontation?