The six characters of Shmuel Hasfari’s new play ‘Havdalah’ do not need to seek for a playwright. Hasfari is well in control of the members two families representing two poles of the Israeli society immediatly after the six days war, and taking responsibility on directing he drives the play and its nuances up to the very last detail.

The name of the play which means in Hebrew ‘separation’ is of the Jewish ceremony that marks the end of the Shabbat and the start of the new week. It’s the symbolic separation between holy and profane, between the spirit of the Shabbat and the dealings of the day-to-day life.

Separation and departure is the theme of the play. Apparently it is a story about the cultural gap between two Israeli families – one of Holocaust survivors, the other of ‘aristocratic’ Jerusalemites whose kids fall in love and decide to marry. Looked more attentively the text says much more about the separation between the idealistic and moral pre-1967 Israel and the euphoric and materialistic post-1967 Israel, about the departure from the values that led to the foundation of the country. Although located in time in 1968 it says a lot about Israel four decades later.

The Cameri performance is not as serious or dull as it sounds, it’s actually funny, well acted, and has moments of great comedy, especially in the first act. The story is well written and works well until close to the end. Each character is well defined and relates well with the other. All the actors team is good, and it’s clear that the writer-director worked with each of them to the last details of their characters. Anat Waxman especially shines, while Gil Frank matches her with a deep and human performance. At the end of the play all characters have twisted their personalities and ‘adapted’ to the new times, only Frank’s moralistic character is almost reduced to silence, an anachronism in a new world deprived of values.