“Prophecy,” which has a superb cast including veteran stage actors Kathleen Chalfant and George Bartenieff, as well as the versatile Najla Said, examines the hollowness of our own imperial virtues. It explores the psychic and physical pain of war. Malpede’s play is perhaps too ambitious in its sweep, encompassing Vietnam, the wars in Lebanon and the occupied territories in Israel and Iraq.   “Prophecy” goes to places most modern theater productions will not. It has a conscience. And “Prophecy” keeps alive the tenuous link with productions, including “The Cradle Will Rock,” that prize truth. It speaks in the unfamiliar language of justice. --Chris Hedges


The play is set in the early fall of 2006 in New York City, but includes flashbacks to earlier decades, and also includes a scene in which one character is speaking by telephone from Beirut. The eight characters are played by five actors, with one young woman masterfully playing three very different roles. The play reveals itself slowly, in the sense that later scenes give earlier scenes new meaning.   I found the performance overwhelmingly powerful despite (or even because of) having read the script.

Multiple wars explode into the characters lives from the past, present, and future. The lives and relationships are not otherwise untroubled (knowing the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar enriches the play), but it is impossible to separate the characters' personal troubles from the wars that have impacted them. Among the characters are victims, participants, opponents, and avoiders of war, and they come from a variety of backgrounds. You are likely to relate to at least some of them in the sense of having met people and known people they resemble. But a prominent theme in the play is the need to look at things from the other people's points of view. And this is contrasted subtly with the dehumanization of enemies that takes place in war.--David Swanson

Go to Script Library

VIEW NOAM CHOMSKY'S Festival of Conscience Talk

"The play is a remarkable contribution, and I hope it will reach many people." -Noam Chomsky   

Prophecy premiered in New York City at the Fourth Street Theater, in association with New York Theater Workshop, June, 2010.
Prophecy premiered at the New End Theatre, Hampstead, London, September 2008.

Prophecy videos by David Rowley; scenes 4 (Kathleen Chalfant, Sarah Golden, & George Bartenieff, Alan Golden) and 11 (Kathleen Chalfant & Brendan Donaldson, Jeremy Thrasher)

Prophecy  written and directed by Karen Malpede.  Cast:  George Bartenieff, Kathleen Chalfant, Brendan Donaldson, Peter Francis James, Najla Said. Lighting design by Tony Giovannetti; Costume design by Sally Ann Parsons; Set design by Maxine Willi Klein; Sound & Music by Arthur Rosen.  Photos by Ari Mintz.  Fourth St. Theater, June 2010.

Festival of Conscience, June 2010:

The Noam Chomsky talk-back was on June 8th at 10pm.   

David Swanson, June 2nd

Laura Flanders, June 3rd

Chris Hedges, June 4th

In order to present Prophecy at the East Fourth Street Theater, we offered benefit theater party nights to peace and social justice organizations.

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with:

The production of Prophecy and the work of Theater Three Collaborative, Inc. is not possible without foundation and audience support. We thank those who have donated to bring Prophecy to the London & New York stage:

The Edward Albee, Yip Harburg, David Heckler, Puffin and Rubin Foundations.  Anonymous, Shirley Altman, Kathleen K. Becker, Martha & Lailah Bragin, Christen Clifford & Ken Wark, A.K. Darby, Marita Downs, Olympia Dukakis, Sue Finkelstein, Elsa First, Norm Fruchter,Marjorie Foreman, John Grant, Folma Hoesch, Henning & Julia Hoesch, Stuart & Rhoda Holzer, Doris Isgrig, Lisa Jacobson, Deborah Klezmer, David Levine & Jamie Cloud, Monica Lord, Bob Machover & Karen Brown, Laurie McCall, Lucia McCreely, John Malpede & Henriette Breuers, Donna Parsons, William Parsons, Gail Pellet & Stephen Van Dam, Claire Reed, Saul Reichback, Ricki Roer,  Lucy Sikes, Alix Kates Shulman, Charles Strozier, Gayle Waxenberg, Avrom Zaritsky, David Zlotchow.

Prophecy was developed in six public readings: in New York City (New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, the Cherry Lane Theater, Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd St. Y); Washington DC (Kennedy Center/Theater J) and Berlin, Germany (English Language Theatre).