A note of congratulations should go to the Denver Center Theatre Company for its daring in premiering Lisa Loomer's Two Things You Don't Talk About at Dinner, which received a reading at last year's New Play Summit, even if the organization has downplayed the gutsiest element: the presence of a Palestinian -- a quiet, polite, but nonetheless emotionally torn Palestinian -- at a conventional Jewish seder. Publicity for the production doesn't mention the Palestinian, but it does quote a rabbi: "Much of it is done through great humor. You'll leave this play talking about ideas with a big smile on your face."
To be fair, the tone is generally humorous, and the Israel-Palestine conflict isn't the only issue at this dinner, which also features a moody Buddhist, a middle-aged drunk, and an evangelical Christian who believes her hostess is going to hell. The immigrant maid has her own issues, too. And Loomer, who based both the hostess and the Palestinian on people she knew, certainly intended her work to be healing. The seder symbolizes freedom from oppression, she points out, and many of her friends are getting more and more politically polarized: "If we can't even talk to each other, what's the hope for the world?"
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But leaving with a big smile? More likely a lot of unanswerable questions. Two Things You Don't Talk About at Dinner premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs through February 19 at the Space Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For showtimes and tickets, call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org.
Saturdays, Sundays, 1:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 21. Continues through Feb. 19, 2012