Two Schmucks, Three Opinions, a Theatrical Banquet,with Jonathan Meth & Steve Tiller
A theatrical banquet to question the Israel/Palestine situation, a show in three halves, created by two ingenious and stimulating theatrical innovators
The Ebenezers are delighted to present Two Schmucks, Three Opinions, a 90-minute interactive performance by Jonathan Meth, Steve Tiller and the audience. Two Schmucks takes place round one dinner table laden with food and drink and hosted by an MC facilitator. It’s a show in three halves, created by two of our most ingenious and stimulating theatrical innovators.
Please bring a dish and a bottle to add to the jollity, to eat and to share with everyone. The Ebenezers will provide their famous Israeli/Palestinian hummus, pitta bread and crudités. Please bring party food that is ready for the table (no heating). We will eat and drink and listen during the first two acts of the play as Steve and Jonathan perform. The ‘Third Act’ of the performance is the point in the show where the audience joins the story-telling and debate.
The core subject is Israel/Palestine. The approach is through stories or family histories and lived experiences, illuminating how our lives and our perspectives are coloured by experience, and creating a space for new and fresh thought.
The key is breaking bread, conviviality rather than conflict. This is nourished by the play's extraordinary form in which each audience member brings food - and drink - and places it on the table at either end of which sit the two 'actors'. The audience eats together and is free to move about during the performance, and at the end of the second half, there is a third 'half' in which all Ebenezers are invited to engage and participate in this unique theatrical banquet.
Two Schmucks, Three Opinions has been performed in theatres, old shops and a converted railway arch. So it is an ideal experimental happening for the Ebenezer! People of all denominations and none have loved and been inspired by the experience. People of all viewpoints have crossed frontiers and constructed bridges as fresh ideas take hold in a special space created by the power of food & thought.
Four years ago two friends, Steve Tiller & Jonathan Meth, got into a Facebook fight, and as grown men decided to take it inside. Their fight was about Israel and Palestine. As theatre makers, they decided to take the only course of action available: it was in fact a three-course action – lunch, or to be precise three lunches. During these lunches they spoke about Israel and Palestine but also found out about each other, about how maybe they had arrived at their respective and passionately differing positions. Steve transcribed the whole nine hours. Then they spent three years not having lunch, gradually editing it in to a 90 minute theatre piece.
They were inspired by another play My Dinner With Andre by Louis Malle and Wallace Shawn, which was originally at the Royal Court and became a cult film.
Finally Two Schmucks was given three pilot performances in front of invited friends - some theatre-makers and other artists, some not. And then they took to the road, venues near and far, and wide-ranging audiences...
Jonathan originally trained as a theatre director at Bristol Old Vic. Since 2003 he has been curating The Fence, (which he founded) an international network for working playwrights and people who make playwriting happen, across Europe and beyond. He has worked with Theatre IS, using performing arts to develop the talents of young people, and he spent 15 years as the Director of WriterNet, a national resource for writers. In September 2013 Jonathan took over as Convenor of the MA in Writing for Performance and Dramaturgy at Goldsmiths, London
Steve is a performer, teacher, writer, theatre and opera producer. He is the Artistic Director of the Wedding Collective. Their current project is the Opera Machine an ensemble of 10 professional opera singers and a chorus of refugees, asylum seekers and recent London migrants. Steve's company began 10 years ago touring two pieces, Warcrime and The Daughter that were made after research in the former Yugoslavia, Israel and Palestine. Steve brought the legendary Vagina Monologues to the UK and produced it for six years, including two years in the West End. Over the last few years Steve has worked extensively with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company, training young actors in a very physical style of theatre.