Flags flying high, the Gesher Theater is moving confidently into its 21st season with not only a roster of challenging productions, but a new venture.

Founding artistic director Yevgeny Arie is establishing a school for actors and directors, bringing in teachers as needed from Russia and the US. Enrolment will be limited to ensure that the students can derive maximum benefit from their studies.

As for the season, actor Shmuel Viloszny has joined the company and will take the title role in Friedrich Durrenmatt’s Romulus the Great, here entitled The Last Rooster, which Durrenmatt called “an unhistorical historical comedy.” It tells the story of how chicken farmer Romulus Augustus, the last Roman emperor, blandly presided over the loss of the empire.

Renowned Latvian director Alvis Hernanis will direct Yevgeny Onegin, based on Pushkin’s great narrative poem. House dramaturge Roi Hen has created a play for the whole family based on Homer’s Odyssey, chronicling the 20-year journey home of Odysseus after the Trojan War.

Other offerings include Bernard Malamu’s The Jewbird, all about Jewish soul, The Liar by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón (1643), a romantic comedy “with a twist” all about the dangers of lying, a play that was adapted by Carlo Goldoni in Italy and Pierre Corneille in France, and starting this month, Jeffrey Hatcher’s Stage Beauty, here named Prima Donna.

The play is based on the life and times of Ned Kynaston, England’s most celebrated actor of female roles until Charles II turned his life upside down by repealing the prohibition against female actresses. Alexander Morpov will direct.

But because the theater only gets 8.6 percent of its NIS 22.4 million budget from the government, there will also be a production of The Sound of Music to get the cash registers tinkling. Composer conductor Gil Shohat will be the musical director.

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