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Zinn Takes on Terrorism

BU emeritus prof’s play Daughter of Venus runs at BPT


Click on the slide show above to listen to Howard Zinn talk about his play. Download a transcript of the audio here.

Howard Zinn credits the bombing missions he flew as an Air Force bombardier in World War II as part of what shaped his opposition to war and inspired much of his writing — including the play Daughter of Venus, being performed through February 8 at BU’s Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

Zinn, a historian, a playwright, a social activist, and a BU professor emeritus of political science, wrote Daughter of Venus during the Cold War as a commentary on the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, Zinn put the play aside, thinking it was no longer relevant.

“But when George Bush declared the war on terrorism, I thought, ‘Idiocy is not over,’” says Zinn. “Terrorism has replaced Communism as the excuse for maintaining an enormous nuclear arsenal and intervening militarily in other countries in the world. So I adapted the play from a Cold War situation to a threat of terrorism situation.”

The play’s cast and crew includes several Boston University alumni, students, and staff, among them director Wesley Savick (GRS’09) and actress Paula Langton (GRS’03), a College of Fine Arts associate professor.

Daughter of Venus is playing Thursdays through Sundays until February 8 at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 866-811-4111, or one hour before each performance at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre box office.

Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.


3 Comments on Zinn Takes on Terrorism

  • Jim Stout on 01.29.2009 at 10:47 am

    Zinn has little Zen

    My difference as to the darmatic quality of this production as I have yet to view it. However, the quote from Mr. Zinn does distrub me, which is what art is supposed to do, provoke thought and emotion in response.

    However, the comparison between the Cold War, WWII and the War on Terror are apples and oranges. No disrepect to Mr. Zinn intended, as he has served his country and has earned the right to decent even though that right is freely given in our great country. Idiocy, excuses for war; sure there are war mongers among us and that will always be so, but I think he take things way too lightly and presents a dangerous and shallow view of the on-going conflict. More than 4000 of our finest young people have given their lifes blood to defend us so that this horrible plague will not reach our shores again. Many fine government employees in Law Enforcement and Intelligence are speading volumes of time away from their families and putting themselves in harms way to protect us from the very real threat of terrorism.

    Do not be decieved by this man, should we relent in this conflict our future generations will pay an even more costly price and be forced to carry a burden far to heavy for them to bare. I expected much more from someone who is apart of American’s Greatest Generation.

  • Anonymous on 01.29.2009 at 8:40 pm

    Awesome slide show, Robin!

    Love the photos, the music, and the way you cut back and forth between the play’s dialogue and Zinn’s commentary.

  • Anonymous on 02.04.2009 at 12:13 pm

    Zinn /Zen and Now

    Here, here Jim. I applaud your commentary on Daughter of Venus. We all dream of peace. But if we are dreaming, we are asleep and we’d better Wake Up.
    The threat of terrorism is very real. A philosophical chat in someone’s den after dinner cannot provide an answer to this cultural war, that threatens our way of life not only in America but the world.

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