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Parties at this time of year aren't complete without boisterous guests donning masks in an attempt to capture the holiday spirit. But many would be surprised to learn how little they actually know about this common feature of Purim.
Running from March 14-18 at the Haifa auditorium, the Hatzuf Festival, a Purim extravaganza dedicated to all things mask related, aims to rectify this. An exhibition displaying hundreds of masks, among them rare creations from Israel and around the world, an improvisation performance using masks and a lecture about masks are just some of the attractions.
Also featuring a selection of events aimed at children, including a children's play performed by masked actors and a workshop teaching children how to be creative with masks, the festival promises fun for the whole family.
For those looking for a more standard Purim celebration, there are a range of traditional attractions available. Artist Michal Focker's drawings of scenes from Megilat Esther will be exhibited, and guests can listen to a lecture entitled "Women in the Megila." Children can enjoy face painting and a clown show.
Throughout the five-day festival there will be a series of performances, children's plays, movie screenings and artistic workshops in conjunction with the Purim festivities. The highlights are a concert by recently reunited supergroup Mashina entitled Rock in the City, and a stand-up comedy evening featuring Roee Levi and a host of others from the Camel Comedy club.
Tickets for Mashina are NIS 65, and NIS 75 for the stand-up comedy evening. Most of the other performances are free. Entrance to the Hatzuf festival costs NIS 10 for adults and children get in free. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to midnight from March 14-18. For more information, call (04) 835-3514/5.