Who Lives? - A Play
Below are a few photos from the second production in Los Angeles. To see the website for that production, click here.
In the early 1960s, an anonymous committee of ordinary citizens in Seattle selected kidney disease victims from a pool for an experiment with something new: a kidney dialysis machine. If the experiment worked, a small number of people would live instead of surely die from kidney failure. But who among the pool lives? How will the committee choose? Playwright Christopher Meeks centers the action on one person, attorney Gabriel Hornstein, who desperately needs what the committee offers.
REVIEWS FROM THE SECOND PRODUCTION (nominated for five Los Angeles Ovation Awards):
“Director Joe Ochman and executive producer Lori Hartwell have come up with an absolutely riveting and heart-pounding telling that succeeds on many levels.” –Jose Ruiz, ReviewPlays.com
“It's handsomely appointed, with Catherine Glover's period costumes, Jeffrey Porter's sound and Jeremy Pivnick's lights giving the monochromatic decor depth of field. Under Joe Ochman's direction, so does the cast, starting with Gottlieb, whose middle-period Alan Arkin quality keeps us from hating his spiky character.–David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times.
“Who Lives? is thought-provoking, sobering, and heart-breaking.” –Anna Bennett, Dialysis from the Sharp End of the Needle
“At the end of the play, audiences will be amazed at what went on and what those who lived through it endured.” –Mary O’Keefe, Valley Sun
REVIEWS FROM THE FIRST PRODUCTION:
“Christopher Meeks takes a factual scenario and transforms it into a thought-provoking drama, which relates a timely story about both ethics and morals. It is also a story about Gabriel, a cynical lawyer whose diagnosis of terminal renal disease lands him a chair at the table. From his treatment, he reassesses his values and ultimately discovers his own humanity. Meeks’ script is smartly written.” – L.A. Weekly, Pick of the Week
“To personalize the astronomically difficult task of the committee, Meeks has created a distinctively complex character in Gabriel. When the dying Gabriel discovers the committee has passed him over, he utilizes his ruthless abilities of persuasion to gain the treatment he needs to stay alive. The committee acquiesces on one condition: that he become one of them.” – Julio Martinez, Daily Variety
“Meeks’s play deals with issues of life and death, the value of a human soul, and the strictures of personal value systems that stand in the way of, rather than help make, difficult decisions. In the best sprit of good drama, all the characters travel from point A to various other points in the alphabet of positive change, making for an intriguing, beautifully balanced play.” – Back Stage West
“The play works on a highly dramatic level, engaging the intellect and the emotions in equally demanding proportions, so rare in today’s theatre, but a combination devoutly to be wished. Gabriel’s reclamation, his humanization that results from the dehumanizing process of making life-and-death decisions, brings down the connubial tyrant and replaces him with a dying man aching for a closeness he has shunned with his verbally abused wife, Margaret.” – Madeline Shaner, Beverly Press
REVIEW FROM THE PUBLICATION OF THE PLAY
“Highly recommended for reading: highly recommended for performances in schools, community theaters - and there is even a screenplay obviously present in this book format.” –Grady Harp, Amazon Top-Ten Reviewer
“Who Lives? is as timely today as it would have been almost five decades ago when the real committees met. Although there is no shortage of dialysis machines today, I imagine the same kind of decisions have to be made for kidney transplants. Who Lives? was poignant and thought-provoking, and I'm still wondering what I would have done if I had been on a dialysis committee. An extraordinary play--I'm grateful that Christopher Meeks took on the challenge of writing it.”- author Jim Chambers