|Khaled Nabawy, Richard Thomas, and Ned Eisenberg|
in the Old Globe's "Camp David". All photos by Jim Cox
Contrary to what our current Congress seems of incapable of doing what it should be doing when it comes to compromise or, to put it in Washington DC vernacular, to practice ‘the art of the deal’ so loved by our politicians and others who seek public office these days.
Bringing disparate parties and points of view to a resolution in any situation is not an easy task. In international diplomacy it’s especially difficult and frustrating when it appears that the stars are beginning to align with an agreement in sight, only to have the negotiations breakdown once again by entrenched positions where nobody wants to appear as having ‘given in’.
|Richard Thomas as President Jimmy |
Carter in "Camp David" at the Old Globe
“Camp David” is a riveting and informative play, written by Lawrence Wright, that is insightfully directed by Washington’s Arena Stage’s artistic director Molly Smith starring four gifted actors: Richard Thomas as President Jimmy Carter, Broadway’s Ned Eisenberg as Menachem Begin, Hallie Foote as Rosalyn Carter, and Egyptian film star Khaled Nabawy as Anwar Sadat. Bryan Banville and Jon Maxwell play Marines assigned to the guard the participants.
|Ned Eisenberg as Menachem Begin and Khaled Nabawy|
as Anwar Sadat flank Richard Thomas as President Jimmy
Carter in the Old Globe production of "Camp David"
Conflict in all its forms is the stuff of great drama. When the outcome is known, as in this production, it falls to the actors to perform the heavy lifting of sweeping the audience along with Wright’s brilliant narrative. Great writing makes the work of actors a pleasure. It presents each actor the luxury of being able to create a fully developed, interesting character.
|Richard Thomas as Jimmy Carter|
and Hallie Foote as Rosalyn
Carter in "Camp David"
The portrayal of Eisenberg’s Begin, who once was listed as a terrorist, renders the Israeli Prime Minister as not only a strong leader, but also as a man who can be warm and one with a sense of humor who understands what’s a stake in any peace accord with the Egyptians. The Arab Middle East for years has vowed to drive the Jewish people into the sea, along with their ancient homeland Israel. Eisenberg’s Begin is a highly nuanced and compelling performance.
|Ned Eisenberg as Menachem Begin|
|Khaled Nawaby as Anwar Sadat|
Nabawy’s characterization of Anwar Sadat presents a man who realizes that any decision made at Camp David will affect millions of people, and in the process, will label him as being a traitor to the Arab cause (Sadat was assassinated three years later by fundamentalist army officers for his part in the 1978 Peace Accord). It should be noted that the Carter-brokered Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt has been in place for almost forty years with no wars. However, the Middle East of today remains in chaos. Diplomacy should always trump (no pun intended) war in most cases.
“Camp David” is a stellar ensemble effort on the part of the company. It is also a credit to the skill and vision of director Smith who previously staged the play at the Arena Stage in Washington DC in 2014 and, as the director, continues to find fresh nuances in the material and the ensemble performances.
The Old Globe has few equals when it comes to the technical elements, and this production is no exception. Director Smith heads a richly inventive creative team led by Scenic Designer Walt Spangler who recreates the woodsy setting of Maryland’s Camp David presidential retreat. Lighting by Designer Pat Collins serves up many mood-inducing moments and allows the audience to see the costumes of Designer Paul Tazewell. The projection designs of Jeff Sugg, and the sound design and original music by David Van Tieghem further compliment this splendid overall production.
|Roslyn Carter (Hallie Foote), Jimmy Carter (Richard|
Thomas) and Anwar Sadat (Khaled Nabawy) say their
farewells as Marines Bryan Banville and Jon Maxwell
stand watch in Old Globe's "Camp David"
Artistic Director Barry Edelstein continues to provide San Diego audiences with first rate theatrical entertainment. “Camp David” performs on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage through June 19, 2016.