A play imagining the relationship between Elie Wiesel and Bernie Maddoff began performances last week with one important change â€“ the character that was supposed to be Elie Wiesel was no longer referred to as â€œElie Wiesel.â€ Instead, the character has been re-named â€œSolomon Galkin.â€
According to The New York Times, Wielsel threatened to take legal action if the play, â€œImagining Madoff,â€ went forward the way it was written. In the original version, the play portrays a fictionalized version of Wiesel and Madoff’s relationship, including a â€˜central scene’ in which the Holocaust survivor pleads with Madoff to invest his money. There also was a scene depicting a sexually-tinged memory of Wiesel’s time in a concentration camp, the Times wrote.
You might have to excuse Wiesel from getting grumpy when he hears Madoff’s name. In real life, Wiesel and his wife had been among the most famous of Madoff’s victims. The couple lost their life savings to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. In addition, Wiesel’s charitable foundation lost $15.2 million.
At some point, the playwright, Deborah Margolin, sent Wiesel a draft of her work, hoping he would like it. Instead, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate sent Margolin a letter in April calling the play â€œobsceneâ€ and â€œdefamatory,â€ according to the Times. He also warned Margolin that he would enlist his lawyers to stop the production, the Times said.
In the meantime, the production has moved from the Jewish Community Center in Washington to Stageworks/Hudson, a small theater company in Hudson, N.Y. Also, the Wiesel character was been re-named Solomon Galkin although much of the original dialogue has been retained and given to this character, who, like Wiesel, is a writer and a Holocaust survivor in his 80s, the Times wrote.
As for Madoff, well, we’re assuming no one sent him a copy of the play. After all, he’s got bigger problems to worry about. But, then again, maybe he’d want something to read while passing the time.
(Photo of Elie Wiesel by David Shankbone via Wikipedia)
Note from Steve: Hi everyone. It’s been a long, long, long time since I last posted to Jewlicious. I look forward to getting back in the swing of things. See you all around and Shabbat Shalom!