Even on a good night, British playwright David Hare can be one of the most tendentious of modern playwrights. But in Via Dolorosa
the playwright who usually has so much to tell us switched roles and became the listener. Via Dolorosa
is Hare's travel diary that chronicles his 1997 trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. The 90-minute monologue shows us what can happen when a man of reason confronts those who live by faith alone. Technically, this is a one-man performance piece. But New Jewish Theatre treated it like a full evening of theater which, in turn, it became. As Hare, Jerry Vogel succeeded in becoming the text. But the crystalline simplicity of his work was rendered all the more persuasive thanks to an intriguing set from Dunsi Dai and lighting by Glenn Dunn that clarified the story, all of it under the supervision of director Doug Finlayson. There was no false hope offered here, no simplistic solution for the future. But the sheer act of listening made theater seem relevant. And relevance became an act of affirmation.