World Renowned Israeli Playwright, Motti Lerner, Breaks New Theological Ground with PAULUS

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Silk Road Rising presents Motti Lerner’s new play "Paulus." Silk Road Rising will be flying in playwright Lerner from Israel for the first-ever English language workshop of Paulus followed by three public staged readings from February 17 - 19, 2012. Free Event.

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Silk Road Rising presents Motti Lerner’s new play Paulus, translated by Hillel Harkin, directed by Daniella Topol, and featuring: Joseph Anthony Foronda*, Adam Poss*, Diana Simonzadeh*, Brent Barnes, Lacy Katherine Campbell, Bryson Engelen, Justin James Farley, Christopher Meister, and Chris Popio.

  • Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association.

Silk Road Rising will be flying in playwright Lerner from Israel for the first-ever English language workshop of Paulus followed by three public staged readings.

Silk Road Rising commissioned the translation of Paulus from Biblical Hebrew to English. Paulus explores Paulus of Tarsus, the founder of Christianity, and his vision to universalize monotheism in the face of strong opposition by the Jewish Establishment, the Jerusalem Church, and the Emperor Nero. This historical drama weaves through Paul's past and present, guided by his fears and inspirations, and dramatizes the role that Jesus played on Paul's psyche after Jesus' crucifixion. Written by one of Israel's leading playwrights, Paulus examines the struggle Paul faced to achieve his vision and the impact of that vision on the world.

WHEN: Friday, February 17th at 8pm; Saturday, February 18th at 8pm; Sunday, February 19th at 2pm.

WHERE: Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 West Washington St, Chicago

COST: Free and Open to the Public.

RESERVATIONS: We expect this reading to be completely sold out. To assure you have seats, please make reservations in advance. To reserve your tickets, please visit

The staged readings will be followed by a Q & A session with playwright Motti Lerner, director Daniella Topol, and Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury.

For further information, visit

Most of Paulus' plot takes place in the small kingdom of Judea in the first century, yet Paul’s separation of Christianity from Judaism resonates throughout the word to this day. Paulus concerns all religions that offer believers a hope for a Messiah and a belief in Redemption. It is not a coincidence that Silk Road Rising is the first theatre in the world to explore this play in a workshop. The ideas that the play struggles with are shared by many of the artists working on it. I am very grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Jamil and Malik and with director Daniella Topol. I’m excited to share my draft of Paulus with the Chicago audience and look forward to a dialogue with them. I'm sure it will be a great adventure for all of us!

Jesus: I've been young and now I'm old, Paulus, and never have I seen a zealot do the world any good. Let the march to redemption be a slow one. Let it proceed at a snail's pace. Let's first prepare human hearts for it in this one small city of Jerusalem.

Paulus: I'm a zealot, Rabbi, because I love my fellow men. Because I hurt when they suffer. Because from the day you showed me the path to redemption, I can't keep silent. I'm commanded to tell the world how it can be saved. When you chose me, you said I could do it.

Motti Lerner is a playwright and a screenwriter. Among his most notable works are Kastner, Pangs of the Messiah, Paula, and Pollard. He was born in Israel in 1949. Motti teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv. Most of his plays and films deal with political issues. He is a recipient of the Meskin Award for the best play (1985), and the Israeli Motion Picture Academy award for the best TV drama in 1995 and in 2004. In 1994 he won the Prime Minister’s of Israel Award for his creative work. His plays have been produced in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, South Africa and Australia.

Daniella Topol is a New-York based freelance theater director primarily focused on working with writers to develop and direct relevant, theatrical and adventuresome new plays and musicals. Daniella received her undergraduate degree in directing from Carnegie Mellon where she also received her Masters of Arts Management. She became the Associate Producing Director of City Theatre, where she directed plays while developing programming for the Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre and running the education and literary departments. Daniella was also the New Works Program Director at the National alliance for musical Theatre, and the Managing Director for Lark Play Development Center. She is currently a freelance director and lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Silk Road Rising (formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project) creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. In representing communities that intersect and overlap we are advancing a polycultural worldview.

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Malik Gillani

Malik Gillani
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