Maya Arad, about "God Waits at the Station"

When I was commissioned to write a play about terrorism, I knew I was stepping into a mine field.


My immediate tendency was to go around it: to search for terrorist attacks, from other time periods and other places but every such search seemed to me like an escape from dealing with the problem; as if I were only scratching the surface of the wound. I quickly realized that I had to search much closer; as close as possible to myself.


I entered my adult life during the 2nd Intifada. I was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem when buses were exploding in the streets of the capital. While studying for my exams, I used to hear these explosions, followed by ambulance-sirens. I myself, would often get off buses before arriving at my destination, simply because someone on them "looked suspicious". I would miss a heartbeat when a girl's balloon blew up in the city square. Terrorism has proven its effectiveness.


I felt that I must go back to that period, step into that minefield, but not before setting a few guidelines for myself: I am not a politician. I don’t have a solution, not for terrorism and certainly not for "the conflict" dictating our lives. And even if I did have one, offering political solutions is not the role of the Theatre.


I am not a propagandist. I hold a political opinion, yet a play must not be a manifest or a pamphlet, not for Israeli policy, and certainly not for terror organizations. I must examine the subject at hand from the various perspectives of each and every relevant player. I embark on this journey with questions, not with answers. I seek to understand, not to explain.


I therefore, must act as a chemist dismantling a formula. The chemical formula is composed of a combination of elements, and each time they collide, they result in an explosion. I must throw in these elements into a test tube, set fire to the combination, and attempt to trace the steps that led to the explosion.


My hope, therefore, is for this play to be seen as the process of dismantling a chemical formula, which is proven to result in explosion. Every step of the play is an attempt to isolate each unique element in the formula, test its reaction and ask: what is it about the encounter of one element with another that leads to explosion.


When I wrote God Waits at the Station, it seemed for a moment that terrorism was behind us. These words are written months later, in between sirens alerting us that rockets are flying over our roofs, terrorists are crawling in tunnels under family homes, and even a "booby trapped donkey" is a conceivable concept. The IDF enters Gaza territory yet again, and the moral question regarding causing the deaths of civilians for the sake of our own security: arises once more. Shimon Peres says “There is a moral problem but I have no moral solution for it". This is, so it seems the formula which leads to explosion.


Maya Arad