Exclusive — Ann McElhinney, Phelim McAleer on Their Play ‘October 7’: ‘Only Play Opening in New York that Needs Permanent Police Protection’

Maury Phillips; Alexi J. Rosenfeld; Noam Galai/Getty Images/unreportedstorysociety
Maury Phillips; Alexi J. Rosenfeld; Noam Galai/Getty Images/unreportedstorysociety

The new play October 7: In Their Own Words brings to life the Hamas terrorist attack through the actual words of Israelis who lived through the cataclysmic day. Based on interviews conducted by the play’s producers — Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer — the stage drama revisits what they call the “darkest day in Israel’s history.”

October 7, which runs through June 16 at the Actors Temple Theatre in New York, arrives at a time of surging anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment in major cities and universities, with protestors clashing with law enforcement and, in some cases, even expressing sympathy for Hamas.

“It’s the only play opening in New York that needs permanent police protection,” Phelim McAleer said in an interview Wednesday with Mike Slater, host of Breitbart News Daily on Sirius XM Patriot 125.

“There’s a play about Jewish people, about Israel, opening in New York, and it’s the only play in 2024 that needs police protection. The world has changed, let me tell you.”

Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer — who also produced the Hunter Biden movie My Son Hunter — aren’t the type to shy away from confrontation.

“We wanted to put [the play] on stage in New York,” said McElhinney.

“New York needs to hear it. New York needs to know this day happened. The encampments in New York, the campus protests in New York, they look at October 8 and beyond,” she said. “People would be living in peace in Gaza now if it had not been for October 7. So it’s very important to remember that there would be no October 8 if there was no October 7.”


Shortly after the fateful day,  Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer traveled from Ireland to Israel where they interviewed people whose lives intersected with the Hamas attack, including some attendees of the Nova music festival. Their testimony was transcribed and is used verbatim in the play.

“Every word you hear on stage is a moment from that person’s day on October 7,” said McElhinney.

Among the interviewees was a worker for Coca-Cola named Zaki who ended up saving  dozens of attendees at the festival. His words struck the play’s creators as among the strongest in the production: “Maybe people will learn something about the Jewish religion,” he says, adding that the highest calling for a Jewish person “is to save a soul.”

Ultimately, October 7 is intended to be an uplifting experience, not a depressing one.

“These are incredibly resilient people and the stories are inspiring,” said McElhinney. “You don’t come away broken, you come away thinking these are amazing people, these are amazing stories.”

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com


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