Next Theatre offers an official apology


Just released from Next Theatre (in full):

NEXT THEATRE COMPANY APOLOGIZES TO ISRAELI PLAYWRIGHT, ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

The Next Theatre Company announces the immediate departure of its Artistic Director Jason Southerland, and has apologized to Israeli playwright Boaz Gaon for the Theatre’s recent production of Return to Haifa that closed on March 7, 2010, which made unauthorized and unlicensed use of the title and both verbatim and paraphrased passages of dialogue from Mr. Gaon’s acclaimed play Return to Haifa. Mr. Gaon has accepted the Theatre’s apology.

Funny. Not once is the term “plagiarized” used.

For those who want the backstory, go here. This passage from the PerformInc article stuck out to me most, concerning the impact it makes on playwright Margaret Lewis (who, for the record, had nothing to do with the plagiarism):

“…in addition to the press release admitting to lifting passages, the settlement agreement also stipulates that Next must expunge any reference to ever producing Return to Haifa and that [Lewis] can never again have her play produced.”

How horrible for all involved, particularly for Lewis, who can no longer cite the show in her credits. Does this mean I have to remove my review, too?

7 thoughts on “Next Theatre offers an official apology

  1. […] Carrie L. Kaufman on what is no longer Next “Artistic director Jason Southerland has left Next Theatre Company amid accusations of plagiarism surrounding Next’s February/March production of Return to Haifa.” Look behind the curtain to see how this happened, and why playwright Margaret Lewis’ adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s novella will never be produced again, through no fault of her own. UPDATED to include a link to the Next Theatre’s official apology. […]

  2. I don’t know if this means any future references or if all critics have to remove their prior references.

    1. I think it means they’ll flash one of those wands in front of our faces like they do in “Men in Black” where we’ll forget any of it ever happened.

    1. Yeah. It’s a little insulting. But I guess if there’s all this legal whatnot happening behind the scenes, saying more than that might open too many doors and pose a risk. That’s my only guess.

  3. The statement released by Next Theatre is not insulting. It was drafted by lawyers in conjunction with the writer of the original play and The Next Theatre stated exactly what the owners of the play desired and required. Enough information is already out about the situation so it is no secret. The Next Theatre has been dealing with this since March and is probably just wanting to move beyond the mess created by the now deposed former artistic director.

    1. Really? I think it would be insulting to Lewis, as this official statement doesn’t explicitly state that she wasn’t responsible for these claims.

      But, your response confirms what I said above. The legal issues were the reason for the brievity of the note.

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