I have seen last night probably the best theater performance of the season with the Jaffa Gesher Theater production of Luigi Pirandello‘s Six Characters in Search of an Author. I am glad to end this year’s season with this performance, especially as this is also the best show that I have seen for many years at Gesher, a theater that meant so much in the Israeli landscape in the 90s but seemed to be in free fall during the last few seasons. I hope that this is the sign of a strong rebound.

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il

I have seen the play on stage only once in the past at the acting school studio in Bucharest. It was a memorable performance then with the young actors of a solid generation approaching with passion and sensitivity the complex text of Pirandello, one of the most intelligent exercise of theater in theater that was ever written, debating the relations between realism and sensibility, truth and reality, imagination and the role of of the actor, of the director and of the author in the art of theater.

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il

With my expectations set high I was a little bit concerned of not being disappointed, taking in account my recent experiences at Gesher. To a large extent my concerns were not justified. The adaptation of Roee Chen cuts deeply in the text of the play, but keeps the essential of the message in a format fit to the needs and time budget (or what are perceived to be the needs and time budget) of the contemporary spectators. The invasion of the six characters seeking for the author to nail in words their suffering and emotions and to fix the tragic twists of destiny is translated into a drama played on the background of a century where reality shows tend to replace reality. Director Evgeny Arye is back to more direct ways of expressing emotions, and relies less on the spectacular circus-like effects that have become kind of a trademark of the theater in Jaffo lately, spectacular, but not always justified. The wonderful team of actors are perfect, starting with the big star of Gesher Israel (Sasha) Demidov in the role of The Director, peered with Moshe Ivgi as The Father, head of the family in seek of The Author (or of The Creator), and until the smaller roles of the younger children, who stay silent or are absent for most of the time of the play, just to make the final point in a moving and well thought ending.

Frankly, we considered canceling our subscription to the Gesher Theater next year. This performance convinced us to continue. A theater capable of putting on stage such a performance is worth continuing to be watched in expectation.