Variations on a theme

Leading playwright Yehoshua Sobol turns the spotlight on Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, the French army major who betrayed Dreyfus.

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August 2, 2007 17:58
1 minute read.
Variations on a theme

walsin exterhazy 298.88. (photo credit: courtesy)

Leading playwright Yehoshua Sobol turns the spotlight on Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, the profligate French army major who betrayed his country and fingered fellow officer Alfred Dreyfus, in his new monodrama I'm No Dreyfus. Popular ex-radio host Alex Anski plays the villain, who started out friendly enough to Jews so long as they kept him supplied with loans, but turned anti-Semitic when they stopped. In pre-Dreyfus Affair days, the Rothschilds granted him money to get out of woman trouble - and were rewarded later with his accusing them of corrupting his soul by giving him the financial ability to get involved with loose women. The play is set in England, where Esterhazy fled after being exposed in 1898, It has the charismatic rake and embezzler take a platform in Hyde Park to tell his tale and is based on French security documents which have only recently come to light. The notorious affair opened a century that become the most murderous in Jewish history; with the plague of anti-Semitism finding new shape at the beginning of this one, Sobol writes that he has decided to revisit the event that jump-started the Zionist movement: in covering Dreyfus's public humiliation as he was stripped of his sword to the backdrop of mobs shouting "Death to the Jews," Herzl decided that a national state for the Jews was the only cure for the immutable disease known as anti-Semitism. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 p.m., Cafe-theatron, Cameri Theater, 19 Shaul Hamelech, Tel Aviv, (03) 606-0960


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