These plays do for the genre of drama what modern Jazz has done for music: they raise emotional meaning, experiencing and understanding, to a higher plane of vicarious emotional sharing. By expanding the boundaries of the "expected" and "received" structures, these six plays tear away the comfortable scaffoldings that support the ordinary structures of drama and allow us to peer into the abyss that the Holocaust was. And they erect in its place a new more open mental space for human understanding and empathy.
The new structures on exhibit in these plays render us emotionally bare, removing all pretenses that genocide is some kind of social melodrama that we, as ordinary human spectators, can understand, unaided. Instead, it raises the level of artistic sentimentality to a whole new level so that the kind of sufferings that the genocide of the European Holocaust represented is viewed in a new window of human psychic understanding. The genius of these profound works of art is that by "over-understanding" how the ordinary psyche works they are able to use this knowledge to bore beneath the skin of the ordinary mind to convey the utter immensity of the scale and the depth of the collective suffering of the Holocaust.
The utter scale of genocidal murder is something that assaults the ordinary psyche in ways that invokes the human "flee" impulse. Our minds keep telling us that surely there must be reasons for, and limits to, the evil that man can commit against his own kind? We immediately want to get away from or deny the truth of what is right before our very own eyes. Instinctively, we seek the coward's way out: to shut down, turn our eyes away from, or deny the reality of the size and the meaning of the evils that lie in our midst.
These plays succeed in cutting off all conspicuous unconscious escape routes, forcing us to face the reality "we pretend not to know" is there. And yet with all of our dissembling, minimization, turning our eyes away, rationalizing and becoming distracted through overly self-absorption in our own private minutia and other forms of sanctioned deflections and cultural denial, genocide still lives side-by-side with us in this modern world. Yugoslavia, Rwanda, East Timor, and Sudan have all occurred on our watch.
Inventive, deeply emotionally resonating without being either macabre, or maudlin, or "playing the victimization card," these plays achieve their intended effect: To warn us, as Hannah Arendt did in her coinage of the phrase "the banality of evil:" that evil is man-made and normalized through the practice of politics and culture.