In late 2021, the Israeli Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, Mr. Leo Vinovezky, approached one of the country’s leading actresses, Evelyne Ily, and suggested that she bring a popular Israeli play to the local stage in French, with the assistance of the Hanoch Levin Institute of Israeli Drama. The Institute translates contemporary Israeli dramas into various languages to expose Israeli drama to a broader audience and encourage its staging in theatres throughout the world. The play “Oh God,” (Oh Mon Dieu) written by the late Israeli playwright Anat Gov (1953-2012), was selected.
The play is a dark comedy that explores what might happen if God walked into a therapist’s office. Ella, a 40-year-old psychologist and single mother of an autistic child, has one hour to save the world by changing the mood of a God who is deeply depressed and wants to put an end to his life’s work. “Oh God” examines the image of God according to the Bible, and His relationship with humanity.
The play was staged at the French Institute of Abidjan, with numerous distinguished personalities in attendance at the premiere performance, including the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the National Assembly, select ambassadors, artists and social activists. This was the first time an Israeli play had been staged in the Ivory Coast.
At the conclusion of the performance, Assael Tagah, an autistic child who played the role of Ella’s son Gabriel, together with the stars of the play, Evelyne Ily and Alex Ogou, received a standing ovation from the audience.
Following the local production, the Israeli Embassy organized musical activities for autistic children at the Maria Reconfort Center in Grand Bassam, located near Abidjan, as part of its campaign to raise awareness through the arts.