On the one hand, seeing Gidi’s (Michael Koresh) vain efforts to revenge himself
on the young thug that spit at him through the window of his car at a traffic
light, one is tempted to say, as does his wife Nira (Dina Bley-Shor), “Oh, grow
On the other hand, the play, formerly gathering dust for years in veteran
journalist Gideon Reicher’s desk drawer, is suddenly topical because it
addresses the culture of violence with which we have so dyed the fabric of our
lives that it endangers our national being.
That said, the play needs
editing. It tends to belabor a point lest the audience miss it as – for instance
– the loveless relationship between Gidi and his mother, excellently portrayed
by Natalie Feinstein. And the ending is clumsy.
The Spit is based
on an incident which Reicher experienced, and moved past, unlike his
protagonist. In the play, poor Gidi can’t get over the humiliation of being spat
at and he loses wife, livelihood, and what little self-respect he may have had as
he toils for “justice.”
The idea of setting events in a boxing ring, and
extending the metaphor to the sound of a bell signifying the beginning and end
of a “round,” works. Within it Gidi sets the scenes for his encounters with the
police, an enforcer, his wife, his shady partner (Shai Zabib) – it is his
partner’s son who is the spitter – his mother and so on.
Koresh’s portrayal of Gidi is too uni-dimensional. We see the humiliation,
we see the growing frustration. What we don’t see is the man on whom these work.
He is a statement rather than a character.
As his long-suffering wife the
always excellent Dina Bley-Shor is also confined more or less to a statement
although she manages to evade it enough to give the piece what color it has. The
other actors do not seem to have been encouraged to move beyond caricature.
Pity, because this is a piece that could resonate.