The ever questing Gesher Theater presents an entirely new version of an iconic
play as the flagship production of its 2014 season. Performances start
Yevgeny Arye directs a version of S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk that
in-house playwright Ro’i Hen has literally rewritten “because the story needs a
new approach for today’s audience,” said Arye at last Tuesday’s press
conference. “Why? Because the question is what is a dybbuk for today’s
In terms of anthropological psychology “the dybbuk is a
psychological phenomenon that goes by different names in different cultures,” he
continued, “and in Jewish culture the dybbuk is an external entity that invades
Messing with an icon is “entering a minefield” because of the
play’s past and reputation, but Arye pointed out that Dybbuk was considered
innovative for its time. The current production is “very challenging for all of
us, and we expect there’ll be controversy.”
The original Dybbuk tells the
story of Leah whose soul is demonically possessed by that of her dead sweetheart
Hanan, who manifests himself as Leah is about to be wedded to a wealthy man, the
choice of her rich merchant father, Sender.
Despite the best efforts of
sages and the rabbinical court, the dybbuk will not be appeased and Leah will
join him in the other world.
In the original the young lovers are just
that. In Hen’s version, they are much older. Efrat Ben-Tzur plays Leah and Sasha
Demidov is Hanan. Doron Tavori, who has just joined Gesher, plays
Joining Gesher is stepping “into a completely different artistic
world,” says Tavori happily, and that he’s diving with gusto into “the very
complex web of relationship between Leah and her father.”
is a production for children, The Odyssey, also by Hen who says that no less
than Odysseus, the wife and child at home have their own odyssey, that of
waiting, so that in essence “it’s a story about family.” (Pessah 2014)
Additionally Gesher’s general manager Lena Kreindlin, its designer Michael
Karamenko, and choreographer Yehezkel Lazarov will all shepherd their own
projects onto the stage.
Women are drastically underrepresented on stage,
even today, says Kreindlin so XX will showcase all of Gesher’s actresses in a
collage of female characters from the 5th century BCE to our own time and
Karamenko’s Heyda is a docudrama using spoken word, a performance
art device that focuses on the word itself.
Heyda tells the story of
Maccabi Jaffa and how the ups and downs of the team’s fortunes impinge on
peoples’ everyday lives.
The incredibly gifted Lazarov, whose Igloo was
in the ‘13 Israel Festival, will only say that his piece is based on something
from Hebrew literature.
Gesher is also reviving Kfar (Village),
commissioned in 1996 from Yehoshua Sobol, the first Israeli play the theater
It’s about the daily life of a little village somewhere in the Land
of Israel during the tumultuous years from 1940-48, and was a huge success both
here and abroad. Also on the roster, and to be directed by Arye, is Of Mice and
Men. A new play by and to star Haim Topol is being worked on, a version of Don
Quixote is on the cards for 2015 and Gesher will take the revival of Kfar,
Dybbuk and others to festivals abroad.
A season to look forward to.