According to the New York Times (June 7), a Los Angeles playwright actor, Steven Greenstein, has charged in a federal lawsuit that David Hare's solo performance, Via Dolorosa, misappropriated some dialogue, ideas, and its structure from a play written by the plaintiff.
The civil suit, which was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, charged that London's Royal Court Theater rejected his one-act play entitled, Voices From the Holy ... and Not So Holy Land in 1997 and then usurped many of its elements for Hare's play last year.
The suit, which asked for unspecified damages, named only the Royal Court as the defendant and not Hare. Interestingly enough, the suit never uses the term, "plagiarism," and does not accuse Hare of wrongdoing. However, the suit does note that Dolorosa director, Stephen Daldry was the artistic director of the Royal Court, when Greenstein's script was submitted his script in late 1996.
Greenstein's suit points out that like Voices, Dolorosa is a one-act monologue performed by the author, who portrays the people encountered on a trip to Israel: Jews, Arabs, and others. Both plays are said to explore the Arab-Israeli conflict from a Western perspective.
The suit also claims that both plays incorporate themes of a yuppie culture in which young Israelis turn away from hard work, sacrifice and military service, and both express concern about Jewish assimilation, restrictions on Palestinians and the struggle of living in Israel as opposed to living in the diaspora.