MENU

JCC Left Right Night – an alternative to dialogue

Posted on November 27, 2009 in Default

On Thursday 3rd December I will be speaking at the JCC for London’s Left Right Night. It’s an interesting mix of cabaret and political discussion. Here’s the blurb:

As the Jewish community becomes increasingly polarised along the left/right political axis, the JCC responds with a unique alternative panel discussion and cabaret night. Throwing up debates on observance, Jewish futures, Israel and economics to a panel from the entire political spectrum, this will be Question Time on steroids.
The panel includes activist Joseph Finlay, academic Keith Khan Harris and political comedian Andy Zaltzman, chaired by Tim Samuels.

The second part of the night will be a variety show which gives carte blanche to comedians, live artists and musicians to try their riskiest, most provocative knife-edge material.

The cabaret features comedians David Schneider, Andy Zaltzman and artists Oreet Ashery and Adi Lerer.
Only the open-minded need attend…

What I find fascinating – and what made me want to take part – is that the Left Right Night is neither a typical grandstanding political debate, nor a conventional cabaret, nor is it the kind of dialogue session that we advocate on this blog. Debate is one way of addressing differences between people, dialogue is another and they both have their pros and cons. By tying debate into cabaret you have an opportunity to let off steam and air their views, but at the same time the playful atmosphere may draw some of the poison from the divisions that arise. The major weakness of dialogue as a pactice is that it can tend towards the over-earnest and the over-respectful. Dialogue doesn’t and cannot work all the time – human beings need opportunities for rabble-rousing. The ‘safest’ place for this to happen is the realm of the ‘carnivalesque’, in art, in play. Left Right Night recognises this. Whether it will ‘work’ is another matter but I look forward to finding out…