Chaim and Hersh were inseparable schoolmates in prewar Europe. A soul-shattering fight launched them on different paths. Both lost their entire families during the war. Each assumed the other was also killed. One is now a free-living writer, the other a pious rabbi. The Quarrel begins as, years later, they accidentally meet in a park. Shocked, they soon recover, reminisce, and resume the life-altering argument that drove them apart.
an acclaimed 1950 short story by the Yiddish master Chaim
Grade, "Mayn Krig
mit Hersh Rasseyner
(My Quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner)"
was adapted for the screen in 1991 by screenwriter David Brandes
and noted rabbi Joseph Telushkin. The success of that
award-winning film prompted the writers to take a fresh look at the piece with
an eye toward enhancing its theatricality with a stage adaptation. The New Harmony Project was instrumental in this developmental stage.
The Quarrel, starring Reuven
Russell and Sam Guncler, directed by Susan Fenichell, premiered in 1999 at
Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, breaking existing boxoffice
records and earning critical praise as well as an extended engagement. Over the
ensuing decade, various venues around the
country have hosted the play.
In 2008, director Robert Walden restaged the production for Off-Broadway, where The Quarrel, produced by Gallant Arts in association with Matt Okin and Melanie Sylvan, once again proved to be a hit, this time at Daryl Roth's DR2 Theatre.