Writing a play takes months, if not years, and the things that playwrights choose to spend that time on are intensely personal and incredibly important.
That's one of the reasons we cast such a wide net for the Jewish Playwriting Contest. These 167 voices give us a really interesting picture of what's on the mind of the Jewish community across the country and around the world.
So take a look at this:
This is how our plays broke down this year by subject area. It's not a complete list of subjects of course, but its a good list, and concentrates the plays in interesting areas.
For dedicated JPP-watchers, you'll remember that we made this same chart last year. What I loved about our new crop of plays was the shifts in subjects to a more 21st Century point of view. There were:
12% fewer Holocaust plays
19% more Family dramas
4% more plays about Israel
30% more plays with primary characters asking questioning their religious convictions
and the one I was pleasantly surprised by - 25% more plays about sex and sexuality!!
And of course, there is that big 1/3 of the plays in the "Other" category - where the imagination of Jewish writers runs wild.
So what does all this mean for us as contemporary Jews? I'm not exactly sure, but if the 40 plays that have moved on to our 2nd Round are an indication, we're a people that is looking forward to what's next. We are grappling with faith and religion and how to integrate them into our global lives. We're concerned about what the ongoing drama, conflict and tragedy in Israel means, not so much for the security of our people, but more for the sanctity of our values.
And evidently, we're a bit randy.
So keep your eyes on this space on the interwebs. In just a few short weeks, we will have the TOP 10 PLAYS of the 2013 Jewish Playwriting Contest for you - an exciting group of plays by an exciting group of writers.
And let me give a big shout out to my amazing Artist Panel Members - 46 cutting-edge Jewish artists who are committed to the idea that the theater is a powerful place to contemplate, challenge, and investigate Jewish identity.
Have a great Hannukah!