Three Testaments: Shalom, Peace, Salam
Review by Ellen Frankel

In Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel and Quran, Brian Arthur Brown boundtogether for the first time thefoundational scriptures of three world religions, all heirs to the family of Abraham.  

This play, based upon that book,dramatizes the shared story of these three faith communities, separated by conflict and competing truth claims, but ultimately bound together by their common story and by their interwoven sacred texts.

This play addresses some of the thorniest political and religious issues of our time in a manner that engages the imagination and the heart.

Populated by familiar characters drawn from scripture—the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah, Queen Esther, Jesus, Muhammad and his daughter Fatima—as well as exotic figures, both historic and imagined, such as the Persian prophet Zoroaster, the 10th century Caliph Abd Al- Rahman III, and a trio of talking birds—the play brings to life many of the scholarly controversies that have led to much bloodshed throughout history:

Is the Bible the true word of God? Which of these three Scriptures holds the ultimate truth? Which faith has legitimate claim to the land of Israel? Where did such radical theological concepts as Satan, the Messiah, and Judgment Day originally come from? Can the Children of Abraham ever live together in peace?

Just as the musical Fiddler on the Roof helped American Jews move into the American mainstream and thenovel Roots restored to its communitythe lost African-American story, sotoo this drama, with its focus on theroots and influence of the Quran, mayopen the door to and for NorthAmerican Muslims. Although that isnot the point of this play, it may be anunintended and fortunate consequence.

One of the strengths of the play is to draw parallels between pivotal religious turning points in the ancient world—5th century Jerusalem and 7th century Persia before the Common Era; Tyre in the 1st century, Medina in the 7th century and Cordoba in the 10th— and our own times, awakening us to unknown or forgotten connections that may yet help the Children of Abraham realize our common humanity.

In its inspiring conclusion the play imagines a day, not far off, when a peace accord is reached between Palestinians and Israelis, and when the world gathers to celebrate this long-awaited event at a United Nations meeting in Jerusalem.

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The professional staging of this 90 minute play may be viewed on YouTube. DVDs are available from Amazon.com.  Scripts are available from Amazon in book form and electronically for actors or class readings from Cyberpress at www.stageplays.com.