Theater Review:Between Two Worlds
By Sara von Schwarze, directed by Manfred Langner Cameri/Stuttgart Playhouse,December 17.
'BETWEEN TWO WORLDS’ Photo: Yossi Zwecker
Press photographer Ruth (author Sara von Schwarze) is a slob, with a messy denim
shirt, shabby pants, a grubby T-shirt and her hair raked back from her face.
This is a woman who doesn’t like herself. She has a chip on her shoulder the
size of a boulder, and after an incident in the West Bank, she’s fled from
Israel to Munich determined to have it out with Dear Old Dad.
Dad is an
aging hippie called Abraham (Eli Gorenstein), a photographer who lives in a
Munich loft with Sabine (Cornelia Heyse), an attorney.
They’ve been out
and when they come home they’re confronted by the raging Ruth, who’s broken in
through a window.
The core of Between Two Worlds is German vs. Israeli, a
clash of identities inherently troublesome because of the baggage
“I lived with that guilt for years,” says the German-born von
Schwarze, who has used the barest bones of her own life as skeleton for her
play. In the 1970s her parents converted to Judaism and immigrated to Israel,
later returning to Germany.
In the play, Abraham is also a convert and an
ex-immigrant, leaving Ruth emotionally rootless. Confronting Abraham and Sabine
allows Ruth to confront herself, to struggle toward a realization and acceptance
of that self.
Between Two Worlds is performed (as written), in German and
Hebrew with the appropriate subtitles screened above Paul Lerchbaumer’s nofrills
yet eloquent set. His costumes are like that too.
direction is equally no-frills, allowing his actors to attack the text head on.
The usually excellent Eli Gorenstein doesn’t yet seem to have hit his stride as
the escapist Abraham, piling on bluster instead. Cornelia Heyse creates a Sabine
who’s both sensitive and smart. Actress von Schwarze keeps a tight rein on Ruth
which makes truthful her confusion and her pain.
The drama itself could
use that tight rein. Engrossing though it is, Between Two Worlds does get itself
into muddles through lack of focus.
Author von Schwarze has included more
or less everything that might have a connection with her subject, even the
debate over circumcision.
In theater, less always tends to be more.