Sheindale is a remake performance of a play which more than twenty years ago opened a trend and created a genre in the Israeli theater – plays dedicated to the life and conflicts in the closed ultra-religious (haredi) society in Israel. Further examples in the genre dealt with the relations between the non-religious and religious sectors of the Israeli society and the dilemmas of these caught in-between the two worlds. Sheindale however is solely located in the Jerusalemite Meah Shearim ultra-religious district and all its characters belong to this medium. The intrigue speaks about power fights within the haredi rabbinical courts and especially about the role and place of women in this close and very traditional society. In the center of the story can be found two women, mother and daughter who fight for power and love between them and against a world dominated by the strict rules of the Jewish law. A universal theme in a very specific and localized environment – here are the premises for an interesting play.

Amnon Levy - source

The result however disappointed me. I am not sure what was the motivation of the Beit Lessin theater in bringing back this play to stage. What was novelty 25 years ago and the result of serious investigation of journalist and playwright Amnon Levy is not any longer something new for the Israeli audiences. Acting is good with Yona Elian, Michal Stamler, and Dov Navon the best in a balanced cast. Yet the sensation of deja-vu and the lack of imagination of director Rami Danon (his focus was on authenticity, but authenticity does not necessarily make good theater) lead to a performance which seems long despite its only 100 minutes and even boring sometimes. Yet, the theater was full, and although the applauds were not really enthusiastic the box-office target was reached last Friday. Is this enough?