Last year, during Hanukkah of 2021, the Israeli Embassy in Moscow celebrated the release of the first anthology of Israeli plays in the Russian language at the prestigious Non/Fiction book fair. The project was conducted in collaboration with NLO, one of the most important publishers in Russia, and was initiated by the embassy, marking the 30th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia.
The decision to issue an anthology of plays was made because few Israeli plays are staged in Russia, as local directors do not have access to translated materials from Israel. The embassy identified the need to make the original works available in Russian. The project was implemented in collaboration with the Hanoch Levin Institute for Israeli Drama, led by Shimrit Ron, who translated new plays for the project. The project consultant was Roey Chen, in-house playwright at the Gesher Theater.
Anthology of Israeli plays (Credit: Embassy of Israel in Russia)
The editor and author of the book’s preface is Dina Goder, theater critic and the director of the School of Cultural Communication. Due to the wide variety of available material, Goder suggested that the first anthology present voices from different generations since the establishment of the State of Israel with an emphasis on universal issues that would be of interest to the Russian audience and directors in future generations. The selected plays are “Krum” by Hanoch Levin, “The Bride and the Butterfly Catcher” by Nissim Aloni, “The Button” by Yosef Bar-Yosef, “Village” by Yehoshua Sobol, “Oh My God” by Anat Gov, “Games in the Backyard,” by Edna Mazia, “Five Kilo Sugar,” by Gur Koren and “Someone like me,” by Roy Chen.
The embassy directed the book launch in the presence of publisher Irina Prokhorova, who heads one of the largest philanthropic foundations in Russia to promote cultural ties, together with Yuri Shakhbatov, a promising director and artistic director of the Ljubimbka Festival of Modern Playwriting. After the opening remarks, the audience received its first glimpse of the play “Amsterdam,” presented by the actresses of the independent female theater group under the direction of director and playwright Zhenya Berkowitz.
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