Theater Review: Ad Lo Yada (Purim Parade)

Shlomo Mashiach Directed by Roni Ninio Cameri Theater, June 27.

July 10, 2012 22:01
1 minute read.
Theater [illustrative]

Theater 370. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Svetlana Berger’s ingenious set starts in your regular interview room in a police station: a table, a couple of chairs, bare walls, barred window.

Those walls will slip aside to reveal a living room, then the police toilet.

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“It ain’t necessarily so,” sings Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, and what isn’t necessarily so set-wise also haunts the events of Mashiach’s Purim Parade. In it, an expanding tissue of lies and half-truths enmeshes the characters, for whom truth seems to be a prop rather than a value, absolute or otherwise.

The police have summoned dentist Ben Maller (Ohad Shachar) for routine questioning in what may become a charge of malpractice. Genialfaced Ohad Knoller plays his police interviewer, Inspector Eli Balaban, who plays good/bad cop as the situation seems to demand, and who is himself trying to come to terms with the death of a suspect during his previous interrogation.

Getting in on the act are his colleague and best buddy Micha (Oded Leopold) and Eli’s wife Naomi (Tamar Keenan).

The idea, represented in the commandment at Purim to drink “ad lo yada,” is not to get blind drunk, but, according to learned commentaries, to reach the state of pleasant befuddlement in which the absolutes of good and evil get blurred. Why that’s desirable, the commentary doesn’t seem to say, and its particular application to Purim Parade is not apparent.

Purim Parade lacks a core.

At best, it’s an agglomeration of interlocking incidents, like a soap opera, and that’s a pity if only because of the way Shachar and Knoller in particular play off each other.

The increasing ferocious exchanges between them ratchet up the tension fiercely.

Leopold and Keenan ably help maintain it.

What saves Purim Parade in the end is that director Ninio has infused its characters with the uneasy knowledge that their reasoning is faulty and their actions questionable.

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