Theater Review

The only link between the productions of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Apartment' is their very young and very gifted directors.

By HELEN KAYE
May 26, 2009 10:55
1 minute read.
Theater Review

Theater Review 88. (photo credit: )

A Midsummer Night's Dream By William Shakespeare Translator: Dori Parnes Director: Gilad Kimchi Beit Lessin May 18 The Apartment By Franz X. Kroetz Directed by Michael Ronen Arab-Hebrew Theater May 19 The only link between these productions is their very young and very gifted directors. THE DREAM: It's when you see a production as kinetic, brilliantly translated and just-picked fresh as is this one is, by Kimchi and his eager young cast, that you realize quite how much Shakespeare got it eternally right. Rules and regulations are no match for the irrational anarchy of love, yet even here "Jack shall have Jill/Nought shall go ill/The man shall have his mare again and all will be well." The laws of Nature are eternal. Kimchi double-cast his actors as was common in Shakespearean times so that you get Snout, Quince and the other Athenian workmen doubling as fairies in drag (gulp!), or stuffed-shirt Theseus and frigid Hippolyta throwing out inhibition as Oberon and Titania. Eran Atzmon's inventive forest set adds dimension, Ula Shevtsov's witty costuming explodes gravity, the music (all pop favorites), provides sleek cliché, but above all it's the actors: They deliver the lines cleanly, as if they'd just thought of them, with passion and intent. What fun it all is. THE APARTMENT: Watching this I'm reminded of Thoreau's famous "all men live lives of quiet desperation." Not a word is spoken in this hour-long exposition of the last evening in a woman's life. She comes home. She goes through her evening routine, changes clothes, eats, watches TV, so on, so forth. Takes pills and alcohol. The End. Except that in Ronen's version there are two women, Arab (Salwa Nakara) and Jewish (Sara von Schwartze). There's no connection between them as they move about the actual apartment where the performance takes place, just as there is no meaning or fulfillment in their separate lives. Connect or die, Ronen is saying to both our peoples and our cultures. Nakura and von Schwartze rivet. Nothing is excessive, nothing is scanted. Watching them one is tempted to rush over and hug, to say "don't despair. There is light and life. There is."


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