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Sherman, Jason


SHERMAN, JASON (1962– ), Canadian playwright. Sherman was born in Montreal, raised in Toronto, and graduated from York University's Creative Writing Program in 1985. He successfully forged a mainstream playwriting career despite his recurring Judaic themes. Many of Sherman's characters wrestle with their Jewish identity, often rejecting religious faith in the face of contemporary society and politics. His plays also ask tough questions about world-changing events like the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre commissioned Sherman to write None Is Too Many (1997), a docudrama adaptation of the socio/political text of the same name written by professors Irving Abella and Harold Troper. This text explores the racist Canadian immigration policies set for Jewish refugees before, during, and after World War ii. Sherman's latest play Remnants (A Fable) (2003) once again takes up this shameful history, but this time he frames it within the biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob.

Sherman also turned his critical attention to Zionism and its place in Jewish Canadian identities. In League of Nathans (1992), a trio of childhood friends endures a contentious reunion. Nathan Abramowitz, the play's protagonist, is confused about his Jewish Canadian heritage while Nathan Glass sees it as his duty to settle in Israel and make the land able to sustain a Jewish presence. In Reading Hebron (1996), the same Nathan Abramowitz questions his role in the oppression of Palestinians.

Sherman worked with professional companies across Canada and his plays have been produced at the Vancouver Playhouse, Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He is an accomplished journalist with articles and essays appearing in The Globe and Mail, Canadian Theatre Review and What, a literary magazine he co-founded and edited between 1985 and 1990.

Sherman received the Governor General's Award in 1995 for Three in the Back, Two in the Head, was nominated for two others, and received the Chalmers Canadian Play Award for League of Nathans in 1993. Sherman's fluid dramaturgical structure, his high theatricality, and his ability to handle serious material with humor make him a driving force in Canadian theatre.

[Amanda Lockitch (2nd ed.)]

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