SEEDS OF SILENCE.
(photo credit: GERHARD ALON)
There are three distinct strands to Seeds of Silence; single mother Rona Ben-Ari (Ruby Porat Shoval), wannabe mother – before it’s too late – Daniela (Naomi Fromovitch) and bachelor (we don’t say spinster anymore), attorney Naomi (Maya Maoz).
The seeds of the title are the sperm stored at the fertility clinic where Rona was and Daniela is a client.
The plot centers more or less around the efforts of Rona’s 18-year-old son Michael (Yon Tomarkin) to discover the identity of his father. Given what he sees as his mother’s obstinate refusal to tell him, Michael resorts to hacking, intimidation and blackmail to find out, and when he does, he’s no further along.
What the play is about is less clear because it takes on an awful lot: the right of children to discover their parentage, the biological imperative of motherhood, the ethics underpinning the donation of sperm and its use. Sometimes it feels as if we’re at a fertility symposium.
The action takes place in Dana Tsarfati’s impersonal, even sterile – but it works – set of walls and banks of windows that represent the fertility clinic, Rona’s home and various other places with additional information, such as that on post traumatic stress or points of law, or longings provided via film clips and some nifty computer animation.
It all gets very fraught as the women deliver, and the pun is deliberate, their inmost thoughts on the relationship among themselves, with Michael and with the men in or out of their lives. Inescapably one feels that the men are there more as punctuation than anything else.
There’s Yadin (Amit Epstein), Daniela’s married lover, Doron (Kobi Livne), Rona’s one-time squeeze and at the clinic Dr.
Yinon (Eyal Shechter) who’s put upon by everybody.
Maoz has a moment when she addresses the loneliness of her life but the acting overall never really gets above competent.
Liat Akta as lab technician Amalya makes a small part memorable.
This is a play that could and should have been slimmed down, its focus tightened.
It’s not too late.