An Open Letter

Dear Liba Vaynberg, Ed Asner, Tovah Feldshuh, Donald Corren, and Jimmy Burke,

Thanks for coming to the Williamstown Theater Festival’s main stage and filling the place on Monday night for your reading of “The Soap Myth.” You were terrific.

And thanks to Williams College professor Jeffrey Israel, author of the new book Living with Hate in American Politics and Religion: How Popular Culture Can Defuse Intractable Differences, for leading the challenging discussion afterwards with playwright Jeff Cohen, director Pamela Berlin and the audience.

“The Soap Myth” grapples with a grisly subject but is a wonderful device through which to effortlessly have the many horrors of the Holocaust pounded into one’s being.

I wrote down only six words in my program. The first five were the question the young journalist Annie (Liba Vaynberg), asks the authorities who are keeping any trace of the soap myth out of their museum: “Your argument feels like fear.”

The sixth was “gaslighting,” an elaborate form of psychological manipulation, mentioned by playwright Jeff Cohen in the discussion.

I hope you had or have time to enjoy the Berkshires before hitting the road for your national tour. Break a leg!


Mark Channing Miller

p.s. Thanks to New England Public Radio and reporter Karen Brown for informing this listener on Monday morning of the reading, this way.

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