Theater Review: 'Alma and Ruth'

The ever-widening abyss between the non-observant and haredi sectors of our society gapes beneath Goren Agmon's taut and wrenching drama.

Theater Review 88 (photo credit:)
Theater Review 88
(photo credit: )
Alma and Ruth By Goren Agmon Directed by Micha Lewensohn Beit Lessin June 25 The ever-widening abyss between the non-observant and haredi sectors of our society gapes beneath Goren Agmon's taut and wrenching drama. Alma (Yona Elian-Keshet) owns a publishing house. She has decided to publish an explosive first novel (centered on the sexual abuse of a minor by a respected rabbi) by Ruth, a young haredi woman. The question is whether her decision is motivated by the scent of a true literary event, or by a subconscious desire for revenge on the haredi community that has "stolen" her daughter, Maya. Alma and Ruth makes achingly clear that neither side of the religious divide is able, or even willing, to attempt any understanding of what drives the other. If hubris, or overweening pride, leads to tragedy, then in this sense what happens to the protagonists in Agmon's drama is tragic. Explosive events achieve emphasis through understatement, a theatrical device that director Lewensohn understands well. Unfortunately, this particular performance was both frenetic and over-acted, which is probably not the case when the critics are absent. The only exceptions were Michal Shtamler as Ruth and, to a lesser degree, Adi Bielski as Maya. Playing Maya's brother, Amir, Shlomi Tapiero needs to concentrate more on the character and less on projecting his own considerable charm. Neta Haker's set and costumes were both elegant and functional. The music (Ariel Keshet) and lighting (Keren Granek) were effective.