7 April 2020
Writer and director Stella Green on Definitely Fine's EZRA, one of the shows selected for this year's NSDF
It’s really shit not to be able to show you EZRA. We’re sad about it. Proper sad. We spend most of our time silently looking out the window being sad and also thinking about the seven foot of orange vinyl flooring we ordered for the show that is sat in our flat. We’re sad because the flooring is unreturnable but also because we worked really hard on that play. We had a lot to say and we worked hard to say it in the best way we knew how. We can’t show it to you. So we’ll talk to you about one thing.
EZRA isn’t a play about Jewishness. It is a play about how we are meant to live with things that are incomprehensibly sad. And the characters are Jewish.
However, it is fucking depressing how Jewishness is being treated in the UK and in our theatre industry at the moment. Shows written by and about Jews are repeatedly being staged without any meaningful Jewish inclusion in the process. Not only staged - they are receiving prestigious awards, ticket sales go unharmed and it remains a minority of the theatre community who have publicly reprimanded these productions.
Yesterday, a shabbat Zoom for my local synagogue was hacked by a group of Nazis. Swastika-wearing Nazis. I am not saying this to be shocking but to be transparent.
Jewishness is a lived experience. It requires a relationship with the owners of its stories. This requires you to listen to Jewish voices, to platform them and to make it known that you stand with them. It is important to be clear that this is of course not a uniquely Jewish issue. This is part of a much wider conversation about minority-made work in an industry struggling to acknowledge its privileged past and present.
So to those of who can: challenge those who are silent on this. Be loud. Be difficult. We must not only tell but show our minority artists that we care.
See you out there x
A massive thank you to the entirety of the NSDF team for everything, you heroes.
Photograph: Ellen Blair