Entries tagged with “Cameri Theater”.


source cameri.co.il

source cameri.co.il


Am văzut această seară punerea în scenă a dramei lui Ibsen “Stalpii Societății” la Teatrul Cameri din Tel Aviv, în regia lui Arthur Kogan, cu Itai Tiran în rolul principal. A fost o performanță solidă, o montare care, după un inceput lent in primele 20-30 de minute a intrat in ritm și a dezvoltat bine dimensiunile sociale și morale ale piesei. Utilizarea inteligentă și eficientă a scenei rotitoare a adăugat mult stilului cinematografic al montării, iar Itai Tiran a adăugat încă un rol memorabil palmeresului său deja impresionant. Recomand spectacolul, este probabil, unul dintre cele mai bune ale actualei stagiuni teatrale israeliene.


source cameri.co.il

source cameri.co.il


source cameri.co.il

source cameri.co.il


source cameri.co.il

source cameri.co.il




This is maybe one of the most unusual texts about a theater performance that I have ever written. It is not only about Shakespeare’s masterpiece, not only about the staging (and I have great references to compare with, starting with Laurence Olivier’s 1955 version in film or the classical staging in the 60s with the Romanian actor George Vraca on stage), but also about the atmosphere of the performance. The play is now staged at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv, together with Richard II which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Both kings are played by the same actor, Itay Tiran, the uncontested star of the younger generation of Israeli theater actors and both performances are directed by Arthur Kogan. 


source http://www.calcalist.co.il/consumer/articles/0,7340,L-3575873,00.html


The performance today in Tel Aviv had two parts of classical Shakespearean theater and one surrealistic interlude. Seconds after the first part ended with the crowning of king Richard one of the actors returned to stage and announced ‘Do not go to any other place, stay here, this is the safest place’. The Hebrew word he used has a double meaning of defended place and bomb shelter. Many of the spectators laughed at the joke, but some other opened their smartphones to learn that we were experiencing the second rocket attack alarm on Tel Aviv from Gaza in the last 24 hours. That hall of the Golda complex, two levels under the ground is really also the bomb shelter for the whole theater, the sound of the alarm sirens does not get there, but the theater staff is trained to direct people to that hall in case of an alarm. At the end of the break we were told that in case of another alarm the performance will be interrupted, and the people with seats in the balconies are asked to descend to the safer stalls level.


(video source cameritv)


There was no second alarm, and the second part as the whole performance was one of the best I have seen in the last few years on the scene of an Israeli theater. It’s much better than the pairing Richard II performance which I saw first, it’s a colorful and complex staging, with well drawn characters, which makes a good service to the Shakespearean text (well translated into Hebrew) and brings to life the bloody drama of power and human vice, of glory and moral decay. Itay Tiran is at his best, but so are also Eli Gorenstein (Sir James Tyrell as a professional killer and a lover of classical and opera music descended from Kubrick), Ruti Asersai, Elena Yaralova, Dudu Niv.

The play ends with the monologue of the Earl of Richmond which is to become Henri VII and start the dynasty of the Tudors:

Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days!
Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
That would reduce these bloody days again,
And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
Let them not live to taste this land’s increase
That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace!
Now civil wounds are stopp’d, peace lives again:
That she may long live here, God say amen!

The word England was translated to Hebrew as Eretz. And suddenly the words written by Shakespeare more than 400 years ago seemed so true and so actual. Almost like a prayer. Some of the actors and many people in the audience had tears in their eyes.


‘What’s in a name?’ asks Romeo in one of the best known monologues in Romeo and Juliet and in the whole history of theater. What’s in the title of a play that any viewer knows about since school, whose every story detail, scene and sometimes exact words are well know in advance? How can you make of such a play and a story a performance that is relevant to our times? The bet is being taken in the most daring manner by the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv. The bet is won. They trusted the performance to a 30 years old director – Noam Shmuel – at his first major stage performance in one of the best theaters in Israel. Shmuel reused the Cameri 3 hall in the same manner it was used for the performance with Hamlet (staring Itay Tiran) a few years ago. There is no stage in the sense we understand the structure in any theater hall. Spectators are sit in the middle of the room on chairs that rotate 360 degrees, and the performance happens around and in the middle of them. Multimedia screens like in sport bars broadcast from time to time flash news and anchor Yaron London tells the choir part in the style he does the evening news and political commentaries broadcast on TV. Romeo and Juliet are brought in contemporaneity and we spectators are part of the story, which happens at the same level and at breathing distance from us.

source http://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=1883

The beautiful thing in this performance at Cameri is that neither the dramatic structure nor the beauty of the Shakespearean verse got lost in the modern adaptation. The Hebrew translation of Eli Bijaui mixes modern Hebrew with the classical transcription of the language of the bard, and the ratio of the mix is the right one. We are simultaneously in the eternal Verona where the impossible and tragic love story is happening and inexorably ending for centuries but we also are in the 21st century Israel with the crime families wars dominating the news. The violence is the same, the absurd of the circumstances that prevent the lovers to reunite transcends time. One more plus is the selection of the actors. Nelly Tagar is a young, fresh and fragile Juliet, which immediately brings to mind the vision of Franco Zeffirelli who also understood and projected the power of the teenagers love story in his cinematographic version of 1968. Dan Shapira is a plausible Romeo counterpart to Tagar. The role that dominates the performance is however the Nurse, which is turned here in the key character of the story. The vision of the director in general can be called a feminist one, as the feminine characters (the nurse, Juliet, the mothers in the two families) all play central roles amplified relative to what we are accustomed in the classical performances, and even the modern ones where friar Lorenzo is the favorite maverick. Not so here, where Rozina Cambos‘s Nurse dominates the intrigue and the performance in what is maybe one of the memorable roles of her acting career, and maybe the best since she came to Israel. I am following her career for about 35 years so I may be suspected of some bias, but I believe that for many Israeli spectators who saw this stage version, it will remain in memory as the Nurse’s and Rozina’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’.


Brecht would have liked the way the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv approached his ‘Caucasian Circle’, despite the fact that it departs in many moments from the text he has written. He was himself more interested by the political engagement and with the contemporary messages of his plays than by texts (or better said pretexts) that built the performances. As playwright and director he let to the actors a wide space of freedom in expression, and combined the stage movement with songs in a manner that never tired or fell into desuetude in the many decades since his plays were written.  The text of the ‘Circle’ draws its inspiration from two sources – a 14th century Chinese play by Li Xingdao and the Biblical story of Solomon’s trial.

source http://cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2030

Director Udi Ben Moshe’s adaptation in Tel Aviv changes the wrapper of the story. There is almost no mention of the post World War II kolhoze story created by Brecht. In Tel Aviv it is replaced naturally by the conflict between two people who claim the same piece of land as their own. The theater in which the theater performance is played is replaced by our own universe, despite the denials of the character and raisonneur judge Azdak (whose name has also Hebrew intonation as ZDK is the radical for the word justice). There is however more in the young director’s version that enhances his adherence to the free theater principles. Usually amateur versions of the well-known plays are being taken over in schools, here he takes on the stage of the (arguably) best theater in Israel a version he has put on stage a few years ago for a high school performance of the play. The usage of chalk on blackboard as set designs is simple and expressive and so well fits into the context and the name of the play that it seems like the most natural thing in the world (stage design – Frieda Klapholz-Avrahami).

source http://cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2030

The performance in Tel Aviv is over all catchy and entertaining, trying to keep an appearance of improvisation, with two parts that look quite different in style and content. While the first part sets the context and plays more on the situations and characters comedy, the second one includes most of the political messages and relies on a great extent upon the personality of Shlomo Bar-Aba, who dominates the scene in one of these great performances that are to be remembered over years. All the other actors belong to the young generation and some of their replicas are up to the maestro’s show of power. Neta Garti is energetic and emotional in Grusha (one of these powerful Brechtian women who save the Universe with their deeds), while Andrea Schwartz gets the maximum from the Governor’s widow role, mastering the negative part in the comical register while playing as a supporting team member in scenes that require supporting acting. Udi Rothschild is an ingenuous Simon, and also fills-in a number of supporting parts. As in many of the performances written by Brecht music plays an important role, and there is a wide choice of existing scores, as well as the option of creating a new one. The Tel Aviv theater went for an original version, with the music composed by Keren Peles, who became in the last few years the house composer of the Cameri, leaving her print on a number of performances to be remembered for the music (supplementary to other aspects) and the version of the ‘Circle’ can be added to the series.

(video source aftaabtheatre)

Unfortunately I could not find any sequence from the performance in Tel Aviv. What I did find was another very interesting filmed excerpts from a performance put on stage in Afghanistan. The Aftaab Theatre was founded by Ariane Mnouchkine of Theatre Du Soleil in July 2005. Among other the opening scene in the clip seems to use traditional Jewish music. It’s a symbol of the fact that true theater as any true art transcends borders, may they be geographical and spiritual borders, and that the text written by Brecht at the end of the biggest conflict in history is so fit for other conflicts that still divide people world-wide. I am just left wondering what was the story that envelops the story that was presented to the Afghan audiences.

I do not want to let too much time pass before I write something about a performance that I enjoyed at the Cameri Theatre put on stage in collaboration with the new Israeli Opera. The name of the representation is ‘Lauf MeCan’ which translates literaly as ‘Fly Away from Here’ although in the show program the ‘official translation’ is ‘Flying Lessons’.

The legend says that the Jewish community of Djerba – an island out of the Tunisian coast – holds the secret of the door of the Temple in Jerusalem brought here by Jews that arrived here after the destruction of temple, Jews who hold the secret of flying. This is the premise of the opera whose music is composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff on a libretto by Nava Semel.

The action happens in the early 50s Israel, perceived as a time of innocence for the young and idealistic society that was gathering at that time refugees of the Holocaust in Europe meeting with the Oriental Jews whose majority did not go through the historical horror of the Holocaust, and the sabras born in Israel, apparently sure of their identity but missing the roots and not spared themselves from loss and tragedy. The coming of age of the society is symbolized by the coming of age of the hero of the story, a teenage girl who meets a surviving Jew from Djerba, one of the few places in North Africa whose Jews suffered the tragedy of the Holocaust. While trying to catch the ancient secret of flying, she will learn that the true power resides inside, that the flight is not necessarily towards a point in the sky but more towards inner self-understanding and power of dreaming.

The program calls the show a ‘chamber opera’ and this almost discouraged me from using two of my subscription tickets to see it. The music is first of all very accessible and I am not sure if ‘chamber operetta’ or ‘chamber musical’ would not have been better descriptions of what we hear. I actually never understood exactly what is the difference between a musical and an opera or operetta. Then the performance is directed by Yael Ronen who is one of the best directors of the Israeli theater nowadays, I have seen her Plonter a couple of years ago at the same theater, one of the best political plays seen in years on an Israeli stage. Here she uses a well inspired sets designed by Anat Sternschuss in a naive manner reminding the kids TV shows of the 70s and combines them with a Far East style of shadows theater. The result is simple, expressive and fit to the target.

Last but certainly not least it’s an opera, so the quality of the singing is determinant. The singers are just great. Einat Aronstein is one of the many young sopranos in a generation of Israeli talents that seems too rich to have just one place to produce themselves, so they need other opportunities than the ones offered by the big neighboring stage of the New Israeli Opera. Gabi Sadeh is one of the most experienced Israeli tenors. he may be beyond the pick of his career but the role of the old refugee Monsieur Maurice from the island of Djerba fits him perfectly, and his performance is superb not only musically but also from an acting perspective.

The performance that I attended last Saturday was supposed to be the last in a series of ten and only ten performances. The theatre was full, and I see on the Web site of the Theatre that another series of performances is planned starting with the end of April. Whoever is around, do not miss it.