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  The author and his work

As a tramp journalist running around Asia in the late 70's, I ran into my fair share of civil wars, coup d'états and election riots. They were both horrific and total unmemorable. From these encounters arose two burning questions: how violent is the human being? How does the human being delude himself into fighting yet another war, notwithstanding the fact that the last 100,000 have brought only pain and destruction? The big, underlying question: WHAT'S WRONG WITH US?

To answer these questions, I decided to compile a list of all wars fought during a single decade. I chose 1850-60, simply because it seemed the quietest of them all. I then spent many days and evenings in the early 80's poring over and photocopying history books in Berlin's Staatsbibliothek and in Munich's Geschwister Scholl Institute for Peace Research. The result was five looseleafs filled with accounts of wars.

In 1986, while working for Munich's Kirch Group, I got to know Leonard Bernstein, who was (and probably still is!) under exclusive contract to the company. In his usual warm-hearted way, Lenny showed an interest in my work, asking me to turn it into a libretto. Which I did. Lenny, unfortunately, soon succumbed to illness, and I, after many misadventures (including the collapse of the theater in Dresden which wanted to premiere the play), put together a troupe – Actors & Spectators – to perform what had become a burlesque on human violence.

"Tzaddhik" was performed in June, 1991. The venue was, fittingly enough, in air control tower previously belonging to the Luftwaffe and converted into a very interesting theater. The director was Barry Goldman, the wizard of the possible. The play's eight performances were well-attended. Reviews were mixed; general disinterest, great. Though, looking at what has happened since then, I really can't understand why.

Terry Swartzberg