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Wrestling Jerusalem

From 16 critic and 13 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the show

59E59 Theaters and Srolik Productions presents one man's journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, set in America, Israel, and Palestine. More…

Writer and performer Aaron Davidman's excavation into the contours of conflict illuminates a personal story that grapples with the complexities of identity, history, and social justice. Davidman gives voice to 17 different characters, animating their struggles, barriers, and soul searching, shedding light and offering hope in the midst of the most enduring battle of our time.

Theatre's Leiter Side

"You don’t have to be Jewish to love ‘Wrestling Jerusalem,’ Aaron Davidman’s wrenching 90-minute solo drama about the social, psychological, military, political, and basic human complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The expression 'tour de force' may be overused but there’s no other way to describe this balanced, if frustrating, exploration of one man’s consideration of the perhaps insurmountable difficulties that have been roiling the Jewish state since it was born in 1948." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"A tour de force performance that is well written, emotionally connected, well directed by Michael John Garcés but in the end leaves you in the same place in which you started...Mr Davidman is a talented actor making each person real. Michael John Garcés, artistic director of Cornerstone Theater, has a fluidity to his direction that almost seems like a dance." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Davidman is fervent in his portrayals and a gifted actor as we listen to all the views presented realizing that there are no answers, only continued questions, continued fighting and struggles that make up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seems to have no resolution. He is riveting in his performance…'Wrestling Jerusalem' is a thought-provoking performance for everyone and should be seen and talked about." Full Review

Off Off Online

"His affinity for the material, as well as the struggle and heartbreak of people, is breathtaking...Davidman’s skill reaches well beyond his writing. His talent as an actor, adept at the nuance and complexities of characterization, is thoroughly engaging...There are many profound and wrenching moments in the 90-minute 'Wrestling Jerusalem.'" Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"He gets inside the hearts and minds of a vivid gallery of characters. Most of them are mordant; a few are deeply unsettling, even terrifying. The overall effect is riveting...The news that Davidman reports in 'Wrestling Jerusalem' may be dismaying, even at times horrifying, but, as he renders it, it is impossible to look away...Necessarily, the ending of 'Wrestling Jerusalem' disappoints...Still, this is no small're likely to find yourself hanging on every word." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

"Davidman leads us through a well-thought out, beautifully lit show about heavy subject matter, still managing to carry some humor and optimism throughout the whole show...There are some awkwardly directed transitions between scenes and characters, as well as certain sections throughout the narration that might benefit from being presented more conversationally. However these flaws are hardly enough to detract from the honest response this show provokes." Full Review

Front Row Center

"In this brave solo show Davidman goes directly to the heart of the matter. Did the Israeli-Palestinian conflict start in 1981, 1963 or 1947? And whose fault is it anyway?..Davidman does not try to answer. He tries to dig deeper into the matter. His panoply of characters share their wildly opposing perspectives." Full Review

The New York Times

"A smartly written solo show about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...So it is intensely frustrating that Mr. Davidman and his director, Michael John Garcés, get in their own way throughout this puzzlingly paced production...Too many characters fail to spark to life because Davidman doesn’t slow down long enough to give them shape and dimension...Stories of individuals are what our hearts find hard to ignore. 'Wrestling Jerusalem' knows that. It’s just having trouble telling them." Full Review

Theater In The Now

"A deeply enriching narrative. The text that Davidman brings to the stage is stunning...Davidman is successful as a writer. Not so much as a performer. His characterization is not the best. Davidman doesn’t quite set up each individual character so it’s incredibly hard to distinguish changes…Davidman has written a spellbinding narrative that results in a conclusion of no clear-cut answers. And that’s how it should be. The sad trouble with 'Wrestling Jerusalem' is the presentation." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "Davidman’s deeply personal solo performance...'Wrestling Jerusalem' might not knock your socks off with its emotional fireworks, but its intense 'wrestling' with this most fundamental of ethical questions will engage you at your best, and at your most protean: with your sense of Self and Becoming...The passion of the man fills the stage...You will leave this theatrical meditation with your own reflections on what it means to be human." Full Review

Washington Life Magazine

for a previous production "Davidman’s performance is mesmerizing as he moves easily about the stage under Michael John Garces’ careful direction...Davidman confronts the complicated sectarian and ethnic differences with a wry sense of humor mixed with satire. He never preaches, nor does he offer advice...Davidman’s intelligent script and understated performance emphasizes that in the land that gave birth to three of the major religions of the Western World, there are no ready resolutions." Full Review

MD Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Written and brilliantly and passionately performed by Aaron Davidman...Mr. Davidman adapts accents of dozens of characters. He is a believable mimic and plays each character with respect and understanding...This is a production that adults wanting to understand the conflict in a mostly balanced format absolutely must see. It will challenge your intellect, change your vantage point, and perhaps give you a glimmer of hope." Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production "Davidman passionately throws his arms around the problem and wrestles, convinced that somehow something constructive can be done...The show, performed without intermission and with few slack passages, is a potent, heartfelt survey of histories and positions, and it grows increasingly intimate and even visually poetic the further in Davidman gets...'Wrestling Jerusalem' is anything but the last word on its issue; instead, it swings open the gate for the more particular festival stories to come." Full Review

Washington Jewish Week

for a previous production "Director Garces brings fluidity and grace to what could easily devolve into a series of short, choppy monologues. Instead, he uses Davidman’s physicality as an actor to cut a continually moving swath across the stage. There’s nothing static in solving the Middle East peace process and there’s nothing static in the journey Davidman is taking...Davidman’s journey ends as it began...still searching, still seeking answers...'Wrestling Jerusalem' is a powerful way to start a conversation." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "Director Michael John Garcés helps guide Davidman through a hypnotic rhythm of persona changes, often with just a subtle shift of body posture or turn of the head...For the most part they strike the right balance and achieve a hypnotic rhythm, but there are several segments in the middle of the show where the 'stand and deliver' approach starts to drag, before being rescued by a sudden lighting or music change." Full Review


for a previous production "There's a strong actor at the center, and there are some merits within the story/writing as well...For those reasons alone, there's something to like with this play. It's unique. Still, at least for me, 'Wrestling Jerusalem' doesn't quite achieve that rare combination of a compelling and engaging story and acting...Davidman isn't quite up to meeting the challenge of presenting his material in a way that's interesting and engaging to a large, diverse audience." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Funny, Delightful

See it if in a nutshell the Israel/Palestinian issue. 17 characters , each have their story i wish all can listen and find middle ground

Don't see it if if you will get upset listening to other views than yours

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You are open minded to the various viewpoints of the Arab-Israeli conflict. You are closed minded to the viewpoints of the A-I conflict.

Don't see it if Monologues or the conflict are not your thing.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Great staging, Relevant, Intense

See it if you have interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many characterizations well depict the complexities and harsh realities that co-exist

Don't see it if you don't like monologues or have little interest in middle-east affairs. It is extremely well-acted and worthwhile.

Great writing, Original, Profound, Relevant, Intense

See it if you want to taste the experience of various segments of the Middle East conflict. Well written and acted.

Don't see it if you don't like solo acts. If you're not willing to hear all sides of the issue. If you expect answers.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense

See it if You think about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Don't see it if You have strongly negative feelings about Israelis or Palestinians.


See it if It was absorbing and intelligently written and acted.

Don't see it if The Israeli-Palestinian problem upsets you

Great acting, Absorbing, Exquisite

See it if Incredible tour de force

Don't see it if Real deep theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if If you want to be lifted from despair...You are willing to listen to an intense range of diverse views....have an open mind.

Don't see it if You see the world in black and white.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if A powerful in depth portrayal of deep conflict. Exquisitely written & masterfully acted.As an Israeli it deeply encompassed my feelings .

Don't see it if You do not care to see a play with conflicted issues.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Writer/actor did an amazing job tackling a most complicated topic

See it if you want a better understanding of all aspects of the Palestinian/Israeli situation.

Don't see it if You are not open to hearing both sides of this ongoing stuggle.

During previews
Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Important!

See it if A tour de force. Looks at finely faceted aspects of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. You will find your emotions pulled from side to side.

Don't see it if You must really to hear all the voices, be open to relating to the aspirations of all people and pray for peace one day.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You are unaware of the horror of daily Palestinian life behind the Israeli Wall-balanced, inspirational & informative. Insightful experience

Don't see it if You are close minded about this subject. I learned about the Jewish religion, the causes on both sides & personal human experiences endured.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You like one-man shows with great action and minimal production.

Don't see it if You want a theoretical debate about statehood of Israel and Palestine - WJ is told through the voices of people living the experience.

Cast & Creatives (9)