Paradise was commissioned by The Playhouse in the Park for its 2002-2003 educational outreach program, which tours local schools. In January, it was decided that the tour would be canceled as the play's content — and possible action to stop the production — became a growing concern in the community.
The play, written by New York playwright O'Malley, follows the story of two girls, one Palestinian and one Israeli. Both girls — who in another time and place could have been friends — deal with their everyday life of homework, secret crushes and dreams while war persists around them.
The play is inspired by the true story of an 18-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber who killed three people, including herself and a fellow high school senior who was Israeli.
In a released statement, Playhouse producing artistic director Edward Stern stated, "Paradise always was conceived to create dialogue and understanding about an extraordinarily complex subject, I am glad that, through this reading, we can again focus on the play and allow it finally to be heard. While we ultimately concluded that it was not the right time to pursue the school tour of Paradise, our commitment to the play and to its playwright has never wavered. We hope that members of the community will take this opportunity to hear the play and form their own conclusions."
The reading, which will last approximately 50 minutes, will be followed by a question and answer session with playwright O'Malley and artistic director Stern. Free tickets (two tickets maximum per person) for the 7 PM reading of Paradise will be available to the general public starting at 6 PM on Feb. 18 in person through the Playhouse box office, 962 Mt. Adams Circle in Cincinnati, Ohio, on a first-come, first serve basis. For more information, call (513) 421-3888 or visit the Playhouse website at www.cincyplay.com.