Tamar (The Two-Gated City)
About Emma Goldman-Sherman
I am a Jew who grew up learning to question everything. I discovered that theatre can confer healing and agency on audiences. I have been able to address historical systemic inequities that continue to affect us all deeply today. My plays have been produced on 4 continents and awarded finalist status at BAPF, Unicorn (3x), Risk is This (3x), Campfire, Bechdel Test Festival and the Henley Rose Award. Antigone’s Sister was given the Richard Maibaum Award for plays addressing social justice, and Perfect Women was given a Jane Chambers Award when I was a student at the University of Iowa where I received my MFA in Theatre. I also studied composition and poetry there. My work includes “Counting in Sha’ab” (produced by Golden Thread and available as a podcast on Playingonair.org). I received residencies at Millay Colony, Ragdale and twice at WordBridge where I also worked as a dramaturg. I ran the WriteNow Workshop for 6 years in NYC. In 2019 online, I created (and continue to run) www.BraveSpace.online. Member: Dramatists Guild, Honor Roll, and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Published by Brooklyn Publishers, Next Stage Press, Smith Scripts (UK), Applause, Smith & Kraus, and newplayexchange.org.
About Tamar (The Two-Gated City)
Tamar (The Two-Gated City) uses two Torah stories to interrogate the nature of power: who has it and what can be accomplished without it? The stories adapted are Tamar’s story from Samuel II and the story of the concubine from Judges. Both of these are usually skipped over because they can make us feel uncomfortable. Clergy have responded to the play with gratitude saying they had not known how to bring these stories to their congregants. A shmita year asks us not to skip over the hard parts but to face them head on with faith. This is something I believe I’ve done by tackling the stories included in this play, and it is also what Young Tamar does in the play. Young Tamar does not shy away from Abida’s intractability. Young Tamar heads straight into the difficulty to discover and even make meaning for herself and change Abida’s world-view. Through Young Tamar’s interrogation, and her faith that the word exists for a reason beyond the surface teaching that Abida internalized, Young Tamar is able to go deeper and find the healing power of the word. The shmita year offers rest, rejuvenation, and healing, precisely what Aunt Tamar offers Amnon. But he refuses her healing and treats her with violence, a rupture of peace and rest. There should never be violence against women at any time, and Tamar (the play) highlights this violence against women at a time when healing was expected as it is during a shmita year. Tamar (The Two-Gated City) highlights the ways women have not been treated respectfully and resonates with the teachings of shmita to provide language and a new lens through which to view Jewish teachings. Tamar (The Two-Gated City) will inspire new generations to uphold the lessons of the shmita year.