For the past 15 years, the seaside community of Bat Yam has hosted a street
theater festival. This year’s is the 16th and takes place on and near the Bat
Yam boardwalk during hol hamoed Succot from October 2 – 4. Except for one show,
all the 23 performances from here and from Europe are free, with seven plays and
five dance events, each in its own competition.
By its very definition,
street theater relies on – and usually interacts with – the audiences that
surround it. This year is no exception. In fact, one of the zaniest, and one of
the seven in the competition, is called If You’re Alone Then. It takes place on
the No.18 bus traveling between Tel Aviv and Bat Yam between the hours of 6:30
and 9 p.m. The actors of the Soutine 9 Ensemble portray a very pregnant woman, a
quarreling couple and a chap who collapses.
Or there’s The Big Bank
Robbery from the Playback Theater in which the players dramatize the audiences’
How will audiences react? Again by definition, street
theater is very political, very topical, and it employs a variety and mix of
genres to get the message across. This year’s offerings, says festival
co-artistic director Gil Bechar, takes on unemployment, the homeless, the
elderly or the idiocy of war in pieces such as clown Jerome Aroush’s Anything
The eight shows from abroad include Suspend’s Tango, a
collaboration between Israeli video artists and French aerialists; 75+ is from
Spain’s Fadunito, an elderly and mostly impaired group whose disabilities must
contend with the environment; and Ceci 3.0, also from Spain, features an empty
How do we deal with the different, the other, asks the show’s
creator, Ferran Orobitij. And from France comes Murder at the Motel, a
non-verbal comedy with Yann and Ivan Lescop.
Dance at the festival
includes MASSA, a work for dancers, and enormous files from Seminar Hakibbutzim.
Anonymous is an interdisciplinary piece that takes place on a pedestrian
crossing. And Home Less Eat tackles the thin line between sanity and mental
There’s a poetry competition in Hebrew, a roving clown show
called Monsters and much more.
The Bat Yam Festival, formally named
Street C.A.T Festival Bat Yam, is budgeted at NIS 2.5 million. The CAT stands
for creative artistic theater. The kids will love it, mostly. Activities start
at 4:30 p.m.