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Tel Aviv's Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall hosts a free outdoor theater festival with offerings for all ages and tastes this Wednesday and Thursday evening.
Four stages will be set up along the brick-laid street, each named after a coffee produced by event sponsor Elite, and each featuring one of four genres. The "instant coffee" stage will host musical theater, with vignettes taken from Habima, Cameri and Gesher productions, including from The Spanish Garden, Good Street and a Broadway ensemble put on by the Rimon High School. The "Platinum" stage will present "To Die For," love arias and duets from well-known operas performed by soloists of the Israel Opera. The "Aroma" stage will showcase stand-up comedy with a marathon of performers and up-and-coming young comics from the Camel Comedy Bar. The "Turkish coffee" stage will feature a modern street circus with the dynamic acrobatics of Israeli street performers.
The Elite company based the idea for the festival on some of the biggest street theater festivals around the world. This local variation draws much of its inspiration from the world-renowned arts festival held annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is said to be the biggest of its kind. Beyond the four main stages, numerous shows of many varieties will be held within the walls (and sometimes courtyards), of the cafes, restaurants and public spaces that line Nahalat Binyamin, one of Tel Aviv's most dynamic entertainment spots on any given day or night. Performances of jazz numbers culled from the stage, improvisational theater shows and monologues taken straight out of popular movies will be included as part of the fun.
An unusual feature of the event will be the actors, who, when not on stage, will be sitting for coffee with everyone else and available for one-on-one conversations about the theater.
From 7 to 11 p.m. June 7 and 8. Nahalat Binyamin's regular nightlife offerings will remain open for business as usual well into the night. The festival's website is www.coffee.walla.co.il/festival.
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