Entries tagged with “Cameri Theatre”.


The performance with ‘The Trojan Women’ put on stage by the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre is a proof of the way great theater transcends time, and to what extend a tragedy written 24 centuries ago can be so actual and can speak so directly to the issues of modern history or even of the contemporary times. It certainly tells a lot about the genius of Euripides, but also about human nature, and about the world we live in. The play deals with the fate of the Trojan women, waiting for the Greek victors to decide their fate – slavery or death – after the defeat of Troy. It can be seen as a long lament and a dispute with the gods about the fate of a vanquished nation, the destruction of a homeland, the loss of freedom and the vicissitudes of the condition of women in times of war.

 

source https://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2532

 

The ambitious project now on stage (for only one week) in Tel Aviv is the result of the collaboration between the Cameri Theatre and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. Director Yukio Ninagawa is a well-know name in Japan, very high regarded for his staging of Shakespeare and Ancient Greece playrights. He  is not at the first tentative to work with an Israeli theatre. The history of his collaboration and involvement with the problems of the region and some of his thoughts and experiences during the realization of the current production are described in an interview given a few weeks ago to the Japan Times. It is no easy task to bring together on the same stage Japanese, Jewish and Arab actors, to make them work as one team, to bridge the cultural barriers, to defuse the political tensions and the tensions created by the text and subtext. Because of its perennial nature  Euripide’s text can be read as a metaphor of Hiroshima and the disaster of Japan in the 2oth century, of the Holocaust, or of the Palestinian exile and occupation. The mission of the director was to transform these tensions into artistic tension, in art.

 

source https://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2532

 

I find the result spectacular. The stage is deprived of any garments, all the rendition of drama is left to the actors and to the stage music which combines intonations of Japanese music with Middle Eastern lamentation tones. The cast is composed of Japanese, Jewish Israeli and Arab actors, in an almost mathematically equal  distribution. All actors speak their own language, and the chorus (composed of five Japanese, five Jewish and five Arab actresses) repeats each incantation three times, once in each language. Although text translation is offered, at some point in time it becomes irrelevant. While director Ninagawa allowed or maybe even instructed each sub-team of actors to act in their own (classical Japanese, modern European, and melodramatic Arabic)  styles, the whole performance has a definite Japanese atmosphere, and especially in the second part stage movements and intonations became more important than the words of the text.  A great contribution is brought to this esthetic quality by the lead actress Kayoko Shiraishi in the role of Hecuba. She dominates the whole performance, melding the personalities of a hero of Greek tragedy with the calculated drama of a Japanese acting star. I will not mention other names, but the whole rest of the team is homogenous and very well directed.

This version of Trojan Women is an event from many points of view. It stages almost every day of the week until Saturday. For these of you who can reach this week Tel Aviv, love theatre, and can find tickets my strong recommendation is not to miss it.

 

In her book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD describes five stages of coping with the malady that she observed in the psychology of many people hit by cancer. The stages may last for different periods of time and will replace each other or may exist simultaneously: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. There is one common feeling through all these stages: Hope.

This information is well known by everybody who faced a disease that can be terminal or who had somebody close and dear who had to cope with such a malady.  Playwright Anat Gov not only has the chutzpah to bring to stage the very delicate and emotional subjects of dealing with cancer and the perspective of death, but also does it with artistic tools and from a perspective different from the one taken by the majority of the artists or writers who did it before.

 

source http://cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2195

 

There is no melodrama in the text of Sof Tov (which could be translated as Good End or even Happy End) written by Anat Gov and the staging of Edna Maze at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv. We are watching a comedy and a musical and if there is anything that is close in genre it is not the psychological journal or reflections on life and death but rather the kitsch medical soap operas that are quite popular on TV. However, the subject and the approach are unexpected. A famous actress enters hospital for chemotherapy for an advanced form of cancer. Statistics are not on her side, the disease was discovered late, she can at best win a few more years of life spent in hospitals and treatments, probably slowing but unable to stop the disease. She seems unable or unwilling to cope with the five stages of the relationship between sick people and fate, and decides to fight back her own way, refusing treatment soon after it started. Does she have the right to do it to herself and her family, has the medical personnel around the right to assist or must they continue the treatment against her own will? The moral and emotional questions asked by the play are smart and difficult if not impossible to answer. The amazing thing is that the low key approach and the comical register work so well in dealing with them on stage.

 

source http://cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=2195

 

The mix of comedy text, music and dance on such a serious subject succeed to ask the right questions, put in move emotions and entertain most of the time in the version of the play created by Edna Maze. The emphasize is on the strong acting with a wonderful Anat Waxman in the main role, and a supporting cast in which the three actresses playing each one of the other three fellow patients creates wonderful portraits of the ex-rock girl, of the Auschwitz survivor and of the young haredi woman brought together by the destiny of the same malady. Oded Leopold as the doctor was the only actor which I liked less in the performance, he fits the exterior of the role but does not catch and relay the human vibration. Dancing and singing are not the best, the Cameri knows to do much better, and certainly Broadway or West End will do better if they will have the inspiration to take and remake this play. I am pretty sure that they will do it, as the daring and well written text of the play deserves an international career.

 

We used the last entry in this season’s subscription at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv to see the ‘The Good Soul of Szechuan’ – which is already in its second season. A good performance it was indeed. Brecht’s play written between 1938 and 1940 is known as one of his typical programmatic and dialectic theater exercise,  but it’s also a text full of power and emotion, of contrasts between virtue and evil, materialism and idealism, charity and capitalism, womanhood and machismo.  As in more than one of Brecht’s plays the ending of this moralistic tale taking place in a world haunted by tired gods disappointed with what mankind has become is open and the question in the final is addressed to the audience placing in its minds the responsibility of answering whether living according to one’s moral standing is possible in a world dominated by greed.

from www.cameri.co.il

It is the second performance that I see in this season with Ola Schur-Selektar in the principal role after ‘Yentl’. It was again a double role in which she had to spend much time in man clothes disguise, which required acting and singing as well. Tonight I became definitely convinced that the Israeli stage has in Ola one of its biggest talents, an actress full of charm and power, who knows to act, to sing, and most of all to move the audiences. Ola is a star.

The second strong part of the evening was the music composed and arranged by local musician and pop star Keren Peles. Peles demonstrates with this performance (in which she does not appear) that she is a very gifted stage music composer, and she also translated the Brecht lyrics together with director Udi Ben-Moshe. Much less inspired were the sets, close to empty stages do not fit any play or directorial concept, and in this case they did not resonate with the colorful musical score and actors approach. Yet this was overall a good evening at the theater, in a season in which the Cameri  keeps the lead as the best theater in Tel Aviv.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhdNfXIrvuY

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.