Tuesday, Sept. 26, an audience with students from Elizabethtown College and members of the Elizabethtown community sat down for a screening of Director Aaron Davidman’s one-man show, “Wrestling Jerusalem.”
Bowers Writers House Director Jesse Waters provided opening remarks, thanking sponsors such as the Bowers Writers House, Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking and the High Library.
The event was also made possible by the contributions from the Shlomo Zalman Krevsky fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Central PA.
Focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Davidman plays a variety of characters from a Muslim man to a Jewish man, which helps give different perspectives on the issue.
“I think it was eye-opening because it showed the emotional aspect of something that’s always politicized,” first-year Caitlin Rossiter said.
Davidman’s film was based on his live stageplay, which he wrote and starred in. The film has a variety of characters in the plot, all portrayed by Davidman.
The opening scene starts with the various characters showing their own side of the conflict and runs for about two minutes with Davidman spouting word after word.
“There was an interesting energy in the beginning of the film just by getting all that out,” Waters told Davidman after the film.
In a Q&A section of the event, Davidman was asked why he chose to act for all of the characters himself. He said he realized, after the script was approved, that “it was all about one person playing all these parts.”
Members of the audience commented on his choice and said it helped them to learn the conflict better without judging the different views.
Waters also prompted Davidman on his thoughts of statehood and what it really means.
“I think statehood is fraught,” Davidman said. “It’s for valid security and protection, but at what expense?”
One of the members of the community asked if the students would mind sharing what they knew before and what they learned from the film. A lot of students responded and shared that they were overwhelmed, but grateful for the film and the knowledge it provided.
Davidman said the film first premiered around a year ago in San Francisco and he is looking forward to it continually spreading around the country and even the world.
“I think the moral and philosophical message of this campus is interesting and in alignment with the work I do,” Davidman said.
Davidman’s next shows will be performed at the Philadelphia Theatre Company as he continues to hold performances and screenings across the country.
“I believe college students are the future,” Davidman said passionately. He added that having multiple perspectives is important for students, as well.
“On campuses there is the extreme ability to engage with others in critical thinking and empathy,” he added.
“It’s a vital skill to become a citizen of the world,” Davidman concluded.