'Oslo' play named best on Broadway Sunday

Play inspired by "peace talks' wins seven Tony nominations in New York.


Flag of Norway
Flag of Norway

A play inspired by the Israeli-Arab "peace process" - that turned out to be disastrous for Israel - and the Norwegian husband and wife diplomats behind the 1993 Oslo Accords was crowned best play on New York's Broadway Sunday at the Tony Awards.

The homegrown play, "Oslo," written by US playwright J.T. Rogers was inspired by the back-channel talks, unlikely friendships and quiet diplomacy that led to the agreement more than two decades ago, and that later cost thousands of civilian lives.

The play has won rave reviews and a Hollywood movie adaptation is also in the works, planned by Marc Platt, producer of "La La Land," which won six Oscars at this year's Academy Awards.

"To the ladies and gentlemen of the Oslo Accords who believed in democracy, who believed in seeing peace, seeing their enemies as humans, I give this up to them," said Rogers.

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey hosted the star-studded 71st annual edition of the biggest night on Broadway, the equivalent of the Academy Awards for US theater.

Beginning on off-Broadway, "Oslo" moved to the Lincoln Center this year and is scheduled to go to London in September.

"We are in a golden age of American playwrighting," said producer Andre Bishop as he accepted the award.

The real-life political thriller tells the story of the Norwegian couple who coordinated the secret talks, unknown to Israel's Prime Minister for a year, that led to the handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat on the lawn of the White House, and earned both the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Shimon Peres. It does not cover Arafat's deception that led to the wave of terrorism against Israelis known as the Oslo War.

Agence France-Presse gets a fleeting reference in the production as actress Jennifer Ehle declares at one point: "There is a leak: Agence France-Presse reports about back-channel negotiations in Oslo."

The play, which garnered a total of seven Tony nominations, also saw Michael Aronov win the Tony Award for featured actor in a play.

The Oslo Accords were based on a commitment to solve problems at the negotiating table and not through violent conflict, a pledge that was ignored by Arafat. Oslo led to unchecked terror attacks against israel. Both Hamas and Israel have said "Oslo is dead," while Europe's illegal construction in Area C under Israeli control also violates the accords.