If the first selection in the Beit Lessin theater season was on the safe side, the second one we attended on Saturday morning was much more daring. ‘Peace Syndrome’ is a documentary theater coproduction of Beit Lessin with the Theater and Orchestra of Heidelberg in Germany, part of a two years project which included shared work of German and Israeli actors, authors and directors. It was presented together with other events in the ‘Open Stage’ festival organized each fall by the Tel Aviv theater.

 

 

(source http://www.nachtkritik.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5567:the-peace-syndrome-der-heidelberger-stueckemarkt-eroeffnet-mit-einem-stueck-wirkungsvollen-politischen-theaters&catid=111:heidelberger-stueckemarkt)

A few months ago I wrote about a similar project that resulted in the performance with Post-Trauma at Habima. While the subjects are both in the complex and fascinating area of the relations between the German and the Jewish people in the aftermath and shadow of the Holocaust, there are many differences. In the case of ‘Peace Syndrome’ the text is compiled by author Torge Kübler from the testimonies of the German activists who take part in the activities of NGOs like Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) or Medico International and focuses on their experiences when faced with the complex situation in the Middle East and especially with The Conflict, the feelings of collective guilt, the personal need to take a position when faced with injustice, but also the difficulty in taking or not taking sides or even expressing an opinion in a dispute that is so intrenched, passionate, and violent.

 

author and director Torge Kübler

 

The team of four actors (two Israelis and two German) succeeded to bring life to the text, and after the overcoming the first few minutes of difficulty caused by the bi-lingual experience (with one language that I know only at very basic level) the rules of the game played on stage became visible and we were more and more absorbed in the exchange of ideas and the dilemmas of the real-time characters that they represent.

 

debating after the performance

 

The performance on Saturday morning was followed by a debate with the performers and the authors of ‘Peace Syndrome’. The most interesting aspects of the debate were the ones related to the experiences of the actors on the two sides, and the differences in how they related to the overall situation were obvious. While the German actors approached the show with the curiosity involved in knowing new cultures and events, for the two Israeli young actors the material was close to their daily lives and experiences. For ones it was a deep-dive in a reality they knew only from far away, for the other it was a more drastic change of perspective. All were bound by the language of art, and by what the final replicas in the text describe so well as the principal symptom of the people who get under the influence of the Peace Syndrome – Hope. The message that good will of good people is the only chance for humanity to prevail in the conditions of a complex conflict with no visible solution in sight is a good ending to take home, especially in these days.