(photo credit: Sigal Segev)
This year’s Acre Festival of Alternative Theater takes place in and
around the Old City of Acre from September 21-24, during Hol Hamoed
Succot. There will be 11 plays in competition, a visit by the Austin
Ballet, guest shows and 32 free street-theater events.
this year’s day-long seminar dedicated to the memory of theater critic
Shosh Avigal will deal with Holocaust theater in Israel, and the Acre
Festival artist-in-residence program hosts glass artist H. Lieberman,
who will work with locals to create an exhibition of works in glass.
this year, before the press conference could get underway, Acre mayor
Shimon Lankry and festival organizers were confronted by a raucous,
rowdy deputation of actors who demanded payment for their work on the
The dispute deferred, new festival artistic director Gil Alon was asked for his views.
“No comment,” he (wisely) said, and moved instead to discussing the competition plays.
were 150 submissions that we reduced to a short list of 50, from which
the 11 were chosen. I chose what moved and excited me, the theme being
new voices in Israeli play writing and interesting theater language.
The content runs the gamut, from the deeply personal to the intensely political. It’s a quivering compass to our lives here.”
plays include: My Facebook by Ina Eisenberg and Noa Lazerovitch on
Facebook relationships that get tricky when the chips are down; PPPPPPP
by Aharon Levin and Yaron Edelstein, a black farce on whether or not to
nuke a certain ME country; Max by Amit Erez, a voyage into what
comprises self from the Essence Theater, an offshoot of the New
Acropolis philosophical movement; from the innovative Incubator Theater
comes Eyes Shut by Yasha Krieger about life as an audition; The Old Man
and the Violinist by Amit Zarka delves into extremes and the distance
between them through the relationship of a child and her former
pediatrician, now an old man; and Offstage by Ran Behor and Roy Hertz-
Russo in which the obscene, that happened offstage in Greek tragedy, is
today enacted in front of us – a journey along the Styx, the river that
separates life and death.
The festival’s most important visitor
is The Austin Ballet, and Acre is proud to host the international
premiere of the five-act Light by Austin Ballet artistic director
Stephen Mills. The ballet, inspired by the events of 9/11, had its
premiere in 2005. It promotes the protection of human rights against
bigotry and hate. It will play at the Wolfson Auditorium on September
Guest productions include director Norman Issa’s acclaimed
Eyes, a tribute to the life and works of Palestinian poet Mahmoud
As for street theater, it runs the gamut
from the circus arts to fantasy, to performance, installations and even
video art, with shows lasting from seven minutes to over an hour, and
it’s all free. In particular there’s A-TA-KAI from Spain, strolling
players with all kinds of surrealist flying and other critters.
apart from the festival, Acre is becoming part of Israel’s cultural
landscape in a big way. Next year, for instance, the Israel Opera will
come to Acre after its performance at Masada and this year the city’s
hosting the International Zimriya (Hebrew song festival), not to mention
the annual Arab language monodrama festival, Masrahid.
facilitate the process, “we’re spending NIS 10 million on
infrastructure,” said city development head Dudu Harari, “and NIS 15m.