Theater Review: Used

"Mozart’s lively opera is everything that Daniel’s embittered life is not."

January 18, 2012 21:15
1 minute read.
Dror Teplitzky and Merav Feldman

Dror Teplitzky and Merav Feldman 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of PR)

As the audience files in, secondhand book seller Daniel Steiglitz (Dror Teplitzky) sits immobile at his desk listening to the overture from Mozart’s The Magic Flute on the beat-up old radio in the store. Mozart’s lively opera is everything that Daniel’s embittered life is not. His life and soul are inert, for which the mouldering, clientless bookstore is a metaphor. Both life and soul are turned topsyturvy when a pretty girl (Merav Feldman) comes into the store looking for a rare book.

Rashly, Daniel promises to find it for her. His search, punctuated by lacerating though imaginary encounters with The Girl, takes Daniel into his scarred past, until an unexpected encounter with reality forces him finally to confront himself.

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Teplitzky’s perceptive, ironic reading of Daniel prevents the play from sliding into a mush of clichés. As Daniel’s manipulative mother, Shifra Milstein’s performance is earthy, and equally strong. Her ‘50s-era housedress – costume credit is not given – is in itself a deft comment. Merav Feldman’s Girl flounders here and there, but she mostly holds her own. Amir Yerushalmi, Rafi Kalmar and Eran Ben-Zvi carry off their minor roles with aplomb.

The real problem with Used is over-direction. Admirable director Denise Shama has read into the script profundities that are simply not there.

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