(photo credit: Yael Ilan)
The Fall is central to the funny, sometimes crude, ironic, poetic and ultimately
very sober morality play that is Men. A deep red apple taken early on from a
plinth on Freda Shoham’s pure white set of movable panels, screens and boxes
represents it, and the act itself takes place under the Tree of Knowledge, where
Woman, clad in flaming red, persuades Man “to eat the fruit
Symbolism and imagery permeate Men; the red and white, the
“pissing” scenes, the black jacket removed from a black box presented to the
protagonist between scenes. Is the box an analog of the mythic box Pandora
opens? Does the jacket represent transition from expectation to expectation in
the life of a man? Men is about what it means in our unforgiving world to be a
man, to be a male creature, and of that creature’s relationship with his other
half, with woman.
Did the creation of that separate entity leach from the
man the softness implicit in his making? Or is it society that stunts him,
reduces him to an unfeeling, aggressive, competitive caricature. Is that all
there is, asks Men?
“Yet each man kills the thing he loves/Let this by all be
heard/Some do it with a bitter look/Some with a flattering word/The coward does
it with a kiss/The brave man with a sword.”
This desolate quotation from
Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Goal is not the only one that occurred to me
watching Men. Another quote is by Henry David Thoreau, who wrote the wellknown
“Most men lives of quiet desperation... and go to the grave with the song still
And the men in Men do all of that.
Its form is modeled
on Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage,” but that famous speech’s “seven
ages” are here five scenes: the Child, the Soldier, the Bachelor, the Father and
the Man. In each of the five, the five entirely awesome male actors in the cast
take turns playing the protagonist while the rest play the other characters of
that particular age.
They are Vitali Friedland, Ariel Wolf, Aryeh
Tcherner, Jonathan and Roy Miller, and each of them makes a marvel of their
roles, imprinting each with an intelligent and vibrant individuality.
same is true of the equally awesome sole female, the Woman, who plays mothers, a
soldier, a fiancée and in The Bachelor segment, a high-class Brazilian call-girl
whose laconic responses have the audience almost rolling in the
She is the captivating Nili Rogel who, during the final scene,
walks slowly across the stage wearing an elaborate red ball dress, the ultimate
expression of Diti Ofek-Tzarfati’s canny, apt costuming.
sensitive lighting and the music arranged by Kalati and Uri Bankhalter add
luster to an already extraordinary production. Please don’t forget to breathe.