On November 1st, 538 years ago, the Spanish Inquisition was established, forever impacting interfaith relationships by introducing enhanced, systemic, methodical means of oppression; reigning through terror, in the name of divinity. “CONVICTION,” an award-winning play based on an original Spanish Inquisition file, opens November 17 at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder. “CONVICTION” sheds light on the struggle to keep faith and identity under extreme oppression and is a dramatic blending of a profound history lesson and a no less profound love story rooted in true events.
In Franco’s 1960’s Spain, an Israeli scholar is detained for stealing a confidential inquisition file. An interrogation follows, reviving the story of Spanish Priest, Andres Gonzalez whose faith is tested when he finds himself in love with a Jewish woman. The play, winner of the TheatreNetto Festival Award in Tel Aviv, was written by Oren Neeman, is directed by Jeremy Cole, and performed by Ami Dayan.
Following each performance, a panel discussion will further the themes and questions the play raises with an array of insightful panelists, community and faith leaders, academics, artists, and experts in related fields. Titled Lessons from the Inquisition: Evenings of Theatre and Learning, the panel discussion series is curated and moderated by Oriel Eisner.
Among the panelists announced to date are:
- Kent Thompson, Producing Artistic Director, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
- Charles J. Lief, President, Naropa University
- David Shneer, Department Chair, CU Boulder Religious Studies
- Dr. Carl Hoffman, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Boulder
- Imam Shafi, Imam, Colorado Muslim Society
- Matt Chasansky – Office of Arts & Culture, Boulder
- Nan Goodman, Director of the program in Jewish Studies, CU Boulder
- Kathryn Bernheimer, Director of Arts, Culture and Education, Boulder JCC
- Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Founding Rabbi, Nevei Kodesh Boulder
- David Farnan, Director, Boulder Public Library
- Bill Obermeier, Executive Director, Dairy Arts Center
Each panel will consider one of the themes Conviction raises, which include, among others:
- Spiritual and individual freedom versus oppression, then and now.
- Hidden identity (faith, ethnic, sexual and otherwise) and the ultimate price paid for it.
- The consequences of belief in a higher power, even as it justifies and propagates human atrocities.
- Interfaith relationships. How and what can we learn from a history of bloodshed in the name of God?
- The role of the Feminine in society / faith through history.
- The Kabbalistic notion of Tikun Olam (man is created to help god repair the world, and without man’s active effort, the world can never be whole again) and reflections of it in the teachings of Jesus, Muhammad, and the Buddha.
The play itself, together with the panel discussions, are particularly engaging not only for the Jewish and Catholic communities, but all faith groups as well as student groups. CONVICTION open November 17 and runs through December 4 in the Carsen Theater at Boulder’s Dairy Arts Center.
Reviews of Ami Dayan’s performance have been outstanding.
“A suspense thriller, a sort of religious whodunit— always gripping, Jeremy Cole’s staging is simple and fast-paced, and interest never flags.” NYTheatre.com
“a stunning, overpowering performance…stunning… tour-de-force performance is one that audiences should not miss.” Robert A. Cohn, Jewish Light
“a brilliant tour de force…example of must-see theatre… [Ami Dayan inhabits the characters who populate this play, and he’s] simply amazing to watch….It’s rare that you can get the opportunity to see an actor so passionate and adept, which makes it a performance that demands to be seen. This splendidly rendered production of Conviction … I recommend that you catch it while you still can!” Chris Gibson, St. Louis Broadway World
“This is such stuff as dramas are made on: forbidden love, outlawed religion, burnings at the stake. It’s about the persistence of faith in the face of murderous oppression, a theme with many Jewish variations. Based on a true story.” Rachel Saltz, The New York Times
Tickets are available online at thedairy.org, or by phone at 303.444.7328.