Israeli theater creates magical journey for children in Serbia and Croatia

  (photo credit: Embassy of Israel in  Croatia )
(photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Croatia )

An Israeli children’s theater brought one of its productions to festivals in Serbia and Croatia, creating a magical experience for local children and families.

The Key Theater from Tel Aviv offered its non-verbal puppetry play titled "When All Was Green" at the Novi Sad Theater Festival organized by the Youth Theater in the Municipality of Novi Sad in May. The participation was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Israel in Serbia.

The Key Theatre was established in 1998, a collaboration between writer Dikla Katz and actor Avi Zlicha -  graduates of Tel-Aviv University. The theater creates children's plays that combine puppets, objects and masks. Among its productions there are both adaptations of literary classics and original works.

The thought-provoking production, suitable for audiences aged 5 and above, skillfully narrated the story of mankind, nature, and the perils of greed. Through a captivating allegory, it emphasized the importance of maintaining balance in shared existence and fostering a sustainable society and world. 

Through old books, recycled bindings and yellowing pages, "When All Was Green" tells a story about a boy and a tree, about childhood and adolescence, about green fields that are lost between gray concrete and about one green bud of hope. 

The piece was inspired by the book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. It has received critical acclaim worldwide, having been performed in over 30 countries and earning 12 prestigious international awards.

The festival showcased the talents of various theaters mainly from Europe, providing an enriching experience for children and young people alike.

  (credit: Embassy of Israel in  Croatia )
(credit: Embassy of Israel in Croatia )

Throughout the seven-day event, approximately 4,500 enthusiastic spectators gathered to witness the mesmerizing performances. 

Despite the recent distressing events that unfolded in Belgrade and Mladenovac during the same period, the Youth Theatre strove to provide a sense of normalcy for children and young people, creating a safe space for them to learn about compassion, recognize evil, embrace diversity, and extend a helping hand to those in need. 

In addition to the performances in Serbia, the Key Theater also took part in the International Puppet Theater Festival in the Croatian city of Karlovac (InPuT Fest) at the end of May, also in cooperation with the local Israeli embassy. "When All Was Green" scored four awards at the festival, Best Show, Best Screenplay, Best Puppet Design and Best Performance.

“Excellent direction - dramatic thinking on all elements of the play contributes to the high harmony in its entirety, which skillfully conveys a non-verbal narrative, as well as the unique relationship between the hero and the tree who travel together through life,” read the motivation of the jury. “The show includes joint acting, art, puppetry technology and excellent music.”

The play received a warm welcome from the audience.

Hadas Dolev, the Israeli deputy ambassador in Croatia, agreed with the festival organizers to continue the cooperation next year as well.

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