A follow up email from production dramaturg, Taylor Lee Hitaffer, who wrote earlier this week, in answer to questions about Scene 10’s depiction of a Sudanese doctor trying to treat a patient infested with worms…

Hey again,
Found a pretty intense video which should shed some light on a typical worm extraction surgery:

From what I can see, a small hole is cut in the intestines and the worms are squeezed out into a pan. The patient is unconscious for the surgery, so I’m doubt the patient in Scene 10 would be awake for this procedure if it’s going to be shown on stage. In that case, they would not give the patient water or food if they plan to operate immediately, to decrease chances of Aspiration. This occurs when fluid from the stomach enters the lungs, which can happen when patients are under anesthesia.

Let me know if there are any more questions I should look into. 🙂


To read Taylor’s first installment on African worms, click here.


From the Artistic Director

The other night, a friend stopped me outside the J and said, “it’s really cool you guys are doing Africa, and I love the graphic, but what exactly are you doing In Darfur for? I mean, what’s Jewish about it?”

For many, Jewish engagement with the plight of Sudan comes as something of a surprise, even after a decade of multi-denominational activism. We learn from our friends at the Religious Action Committee that, back in 1979, the Union for Reform Judaism called for ratification of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Twenty years later, there was its “Commitment to Africa” and in 2004, the Union passed the “Resolution on the Need for Action in Sudan.” 
Many of us remember April 30, 2006, when multiple branches within mainstream Judaism helped to organize “Save Darfur: Rally to Stop Genocide” on the Mall. Subsequent actions have continued: The “30 Days for Darfur” campaign; the “Blue Helmet” and “Online Postcard” campaigns; the “Voices to Stop Genocide” rally. Jewish textual underpinning for this activism stems from the biblical invocation, “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16), and the supposition that human life is sacred because all humanity is created “b’tselem Elohim;” in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).

Many organizations outside the synagogue movement, including two of our partners today—American Jewish World Service, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience—have joined an ecumenical alliance, as have we on this project, with STAND, Enough, GI Network and Save Darfur, to discuss what is to be done in Darfur today.

But what is to be done? Really, the cynic might say, aren’t we a little bit done with Darfur? Wasn’t that George Clooney rally half a decade ago? The weary yawn, “Isn’t something else hot? Blood Diamonds? I think saw that movie. Human trafficking’s trendy. How bout a play about that?” Even more disparaging, Jews waving the Darfur banner might be a great way of hammering Arab Islamo-Fascism, ratcheting up points on The Conflict Tote Board. The sagging signs outside so many synagogues—of “Save Darfur” and “We Support Israel”—tell drive-by viewers that the Jewish community is properly standing behind the Jewish State while supporting human rights (reminding us that “human rights” need not be a code word). Clearly “Darfur Chic” has left the building. We have stopped ringing the alarm bells of Genocide, now that the damage has been done, the waves of killing seemingly diminished, and what we are left with is a memory of Genocide; and the politics of debating whether what we’ve witnessed was, in fact, a Genocide; and whether we’ve relativized the word so much that the Holocaust has lost its crucial distinctiveness. In short, we’ve found a new way to distance ourselves from the ravages of contemporary inhumanity. We’re rationalizing a way not to respond to the aftermath. Horror has happened on our watch, and what are we doing?

A play like this brings us back to a beginning when we were enjoined to wake up; to feel implicated; to remember atrocity and the complexity of responding to it; and the clear and present urgency that we must do so nonetheless. This production does something different than journalism; it builds a bridge from our remove to a place of connection by acknowledging the artifice that is theater; the reality that we are in Washington, being carried closer by American actors speaking Arabic, Zaghawa, or English with a Sudanese patois, leading us in a collective act of experience and empathy. The theater exhorts us, as in no other medium, to participate in a debate; to feel the presence of another human being made flesh and touchable.

Can theater make a difference in the world? One being at a time?

Dramaturgy Packet

March 1, 2010

Today we start rehearsals for Winter Miller’s In Darfur.  But really we started oh so many months ago.  Here is the dramaturgy packet the actors received this morning…in three parts.

**Please note that this packet was developed by Dramaturg, Taylor Lee Hitaffer

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Hello world!

March 1, 2010

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