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Legal | Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a cartoon he claims depicts the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoonist, Mohammed Sabaaneh, denied that on his Facebook, saying, “The intention was not to represent the prophet. [It was to] symbolise Islam and its role of disseminating light and love on the human race.” It was a reaction to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, not an attempt to imitate them: “My point was to defend religion in the face of attempts to distort it, by using the same means: a caricature,” he said. The newspaper that ran the cartoon, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, apologized and stated that the cartoon was not supposed to be an image of Muhammad. Sabaaneh, who spent several months in an Israeli prison on charges of “contacts with a hostile organization,” has been summoned by the Palestinian Authority for questioning. [Middle East Eye]
Great news for fans of great theater based on great comics: The Diary of a Teenage Girl is sticking around for a few more weeks. Word went out late last week that the show’s run, which had been scheduled to end this past weekend (perfectly timed with the MoCCA Festival, as it happened), has now been extended through May 1st.
Based on (IMHO) one of the all-time great graphic novels by writer-artist Phoebe Gloeckner, Diary tells the story of Minnie Goetze, a precocious 15-year-old growing up in ’70s San Francisco who spirals into promiscuity and drug abuse after beginning an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Harrowing stuff to be sure, but like the graphic novel, the play — written by and starring Marielle Heller and directed by Rachel Eckerling and Sarah Cameron Sunde — is often hilarious, frequently beautiful, and ultimately uplifting. You can read my full review here if you missed it.
The show runs nightly every day but Tuesday at the 3LD Arts and Technology Center at 80 Greenwich St. in Manhattan. Tickets are still just $25 if you use the code “ISAWIT” when purchasing. Go purchase!
I want to avoid the term “must-see” — I haven’t done theater since playing the John Cazale role in a black-box production of The Indian Wants the Bronx my junior year of college, but even I know what a cliche that must be. And yet. Boasting a quintet of strong, awkward performances, staged in an immersive environment best described as “Theater in the Rec Room,” and augmented with a breathtaking gallery of art from the source material, The Diary of a Teenage Girl: The Play is riveting theater, and as skillful a comics adaptation as I’ve come across. If you’re in New York and have any interest in the semi-autobiographical Phoebe Gloeckner graphic novel from which the play was adapted, or in an unusual and innovative theatrical experience, or simply in a movingly no-bullshit exploration of the lives of young people and the older people who shape them, I’m almost willing to buy you the tickets myself.