A feminine touch
The 16th annual Woman Festival celebrates women, while giving them a stage for a female point of view.
FATOUMATA DIWARRA Photo: Courtesy
‘We’ve got drag queens, divas, cross-dressers. This year’s theme is women to the
extreme,” says Sigal Weisbein Rosman, the artistic director of Woman Festival
The faint sound of a baby crying can be heard in the background as
Rosman talks to the The Jerusalem Post in a phone interview about the festival,
which takes place February 27 – March 2 in Holon.
Entitled “Women Go All
the Way,” this year’s festival will include a variety of multimedia attractions,
such as performances, workshops, discussions, movies and design installations.
The theme of feminism and social equality will connect each event, and through
these topics Rosman hopes audiences will enter into a dialogue about gender
With a larger variety of performances than last year, this year’s
festival will include two Greek plays and one from The Netherlands, as well as
various Israeli performances.
This year, for the first time, there will
be a one-man-show. Although the festival has had drag queen performances in the
past, this is the first year they will allow a male to perform as himself. The
reason is that he will also be playing his mother. The play, entitled Absalom,
explores Noam Meiri’s relationship with the “overbearing, religious, Zionist”
woman, who represents his own mother, says Meiri, the author and star of the
show. The script touches on issues of homosexuality as Meiri relives his
experiences of coming out of the closet to his mother. He says the show is about
“a son who decides to tell his mother everything she never wanted to
Absalom will be performed on February 27, the opening night of the
festival, which coincidentally is also Meiri’s mother’s 88th
birthday. “My mother will never see the play. I don’t think she
would be able to take it,” says Meiri. “She is a happy woman, and I want her to
stay that way.”
There is also much anticipation about a performance by
Fatoumata Diwarra, which takes place on March 1. Originally from Mali and
currently living in Paris, Diwarra has a unique style of music that combines
African rhythm with touches of contemporary, charismatic jazz. Diwarra recently
organized a group called Voices United for Mali. She and the other Malian
artists taking part in the project recorded a song for peace in light of recent
terrorist attacks in Mali.
Other festival highlights include a screening
of the award-winning Israeli film Alice, written and directed by Dana Goldberg.
The film, which follows a woman working nights at a rehabilitation boarding
school for girls, will be screened on February 28.
There will also be a
drag queen concert, as well as a wide range of theater and art performances
throughout the week of celebrating women. Also, in addition to the Greek theater
portion of the festival, there will be a Greek tavern theme, and chef Aviv Moshe
will offer guests a tapas menu during the entire festival.
festival, now in its 16th year, celebrates women, while “giving them a stage for
a female point of view,” Rosman explains. She first became involved with
the festival in 2001, performing in her own one-woman-show.
she always knew “there was a lot to do and a lot to say” when it came to women’s
rights, so she continued to contribute to the event every year. After
being the producer of the Woman Festival 2006, she moved to The Netherlands,
where she had been living for the past six years. Now she is back in
Israel and has an infant son, Avner. But she doesn’t seem too worried about
juggling motherhood and the demanding job of managing the
Rosman, who is a single mother, says, “Women have to juggle
things all the time. Many women have done it before me. We are always on the
edge, stretching our balance, force and energy, trying to be everywhere and
Drag queens, divas and crossdressers may be the epitome of
“extreme” to Rosman, but it is possible that she herself represents a different,
more modern extreme; caring for a newborn while running a festival that will be
attended by some 15,000 people.
“What is the message?” she
says. “Be strong.”
All performances and events for Woman Festival
2013 will take place February 27 – March 2 at the Holon Theater for the
Performing Arts at 11 Kugel Blvd. For further information, visit www.hth.co.il.3