LitBirthdays September 20, 2010

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September 20

Judith Thompson (born September 20, 1954) – Canadian playwright – Palace of the End (2007)

Read about Judith Thompson here and here

“When my career was starting, the theatre in Canada was dominated by British expats who were condescending and Canada hating. . I remember being told by Derek Goldby ( he had made a noise with his U.K. production of, I think The Knack? Or Rosen. And Guildenstern Are Dead) that all Canadian theatre was mediocre, and my play was only a true success if it was on at the West End. This was after he smacked me on the head with my script. I remember as a young playwright, when my first play was in NYC, many Canadians saying “It must be great to work with REAL actors” when the original actors I worked with here were without a doubt the best in the world.”

Read about Thompson’s play Palace of the End

Palace of the End is a searing triptych of monologues exposing the ugly truth behind the headlines of the current situation in Iraq. It provides three distinct perspectives on the reality of the war: that of a young American soldier imprisoned for her misconduct at a prison camp in Iraq; a British microbiologist and weapons inspector who exposes the false justifications for war; and an Iraqi mother whose life is destroyed first by Saddam Hussein’s regime and then by the American invasion.”


“It’s unbearable,” says Judith Thompson candidly.  “Unbearable.”  The 53-year-old playwright and mother of five shudders as she reflects on a monologue from her latest play, Palace of the End. In the monologue, Nehrjas Al Saffarh, an Iraqi political activist played by film actress Arsinee Khanjian, describes how she and her children were brutally tortured during Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“That’s probably why I’ve stayed away from rehearsal,” says Thompson.  “You can only listen to that once.  I feel for Arsinee, having to say it over and over.”

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