The Oath
Adapted and directed by Shai Fituvsky
Habima Theater, Tel Aviv
May 15

A cautionary tale whose origin is a Jewish story from the 16th century, The Oath tells of oaths forsworn, promises broken and the power of love, licit and illicit, but most of all The Oath is about consequences.

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Dihon (Ran Danker) swears an oath to his dying father that he will never go to sea, an oath he swiftly breaks, promising his wife (Leah Gelfenstein) and son, a puppet wielded skillfully by Elinor Flaksman, that in “just a few days” he’ll return.

Shipwrecked in a strange land he falls under the sway of the demon king Asmodeus (Yuval Shlomovitz) and his alluring daughter, a medieval reincarnation of the biblical Lilith (Na’ama Armon), whom he marries, and swears to be true to forever. This oath he also breaks, with tragic and final consequences.

Niv Manor’s blank-wall-that-isn’t set, Natasha Tuchman Poliak’s skirted costumes that reveal by concealing, and Shai Fituvsky’s swift-paced direction give this Oath a jagged energy that holds the attention. A mix of dialogue and narration, the language is rich and colorful, reminiscent of S.Y. Agnon’s.

Danker, Gelfenstein, Shlomovitz and Armon bite into their roles and extract the juices but they too, like the rest of the nine-member cast, either speak softly or shout. Why? There are so many gradations between either. The human voice is so rich and flexible an instrument; this play needs its full deployment.

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