Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Westside Los Angeles Journalist Filmmakers Put on Play about October 7 Using Only Verbatim Eyewitness Accounts

"We wanted people to remember and not forget what happened on Oct. 7"

March 28, 2024 - When a married couple of muckraking journalist filmmakers were visiting their home country of Ireland this fall, they were shocked at how quickly the public's attention turned from the horror of the October 7 attack on Israel to the plight of the Gazans losing electricity.

"It is one of the most important projects we have ever launched," say McAleer and McElhinney

"We just noticed that everyone wanted to move quickly away from Oct. 7 and start talking about Gaza and ceasefires," Phelim McAleer told the Daily Mail in an interview. "And we know there would be no Oct. 8 if there was no Oct.7. So we wanted people to remember and not forget what happened on Oct. 7."

Neither McAleer nor his wife, fellow journalist and filmmaker Anne McElhinney, is Jewish. In fact, they don't believe they'd even met a Jewish person before moving to the United States. But they quickly arranged their first trip to Israel and arrived a month after the brutal attack. There they gathered first-hand accounts of tragedy, heroism - and even laughter.

"We spoke to survivors of the Nova Festival, where hundreds of young people were killed," the pair say in an email about the play. "We spoke to heroes who fended off terrorists for hours. We spoke to families who hid in safe rooms and on rooftops, keeping deathly quiet while terrorists killed their neighbors, husbands, sons, and brothers.

The result of their investigation is a play, OCTOBER 7, which uses verbatim quotes from the attack's victims and heroes. Every line of dialogue is from the mouths of people who were there. The world premiere will be at the Actors Temple Theatre in New York City on May 2nd, and it is scheduled to run until June 16.

The accounts of thirteen different individuals will be presented in the play. One of these is a police officer who held off Hamas gunmen armed only with a pistol holding nine bullets. Another is a grandmother who hid on a roof with her family while her son, below in the house, was killed. Yet another story follows an attendee of the Nova music festival, where over 400 people were killed - she survived by hiding in a field full of thorns for hours. A wife who hid in a bomb shelter for thirty hours, knowing her husband was already dead outside.

According to McAleer, the play also includes humor. For what is true defiance without humor? "You're not going to destroy us," McAleer says of the point of Israeli humor. "We're going to rise again."

McAleer and McElhinney have perfected the concept of verbatim film and playwriting. Their previous verbatim-quote play, "FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers," has two actors dramatize the real-life texts between former FBI official Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok was removed as part of the Mueller investigation into allegations that President Donald Trump had allowed Russia to let him win the election after the texts were revealed, along with his bias against Trump. The award-winning journalist pair created a reenactment of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, based solely on Grand Jury testimony. And they reenacted the trial of Harvey Weinstein in a dramatized podcast.

Phelim McAleer and Anne McElhinney

The pair also wrote the "The Gosnell Movie" about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, whose dangerous and unethical practices at his abortion clinic led to a conviction on murder and manslaughter charges and a life sentence in prison.

Tickets to OCTOBER 7 are sold online at


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