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The 16th Haifa Children's Theater Festival gets underway in and around the Haifa Theater between April 14-17 during Hol Hamoed Pessah with five plays in competition, three productions from abroad, some half dozen guest productions and lots of workshops and free events for the kiddies in a big tent out on the Haifa Theater plaza.
The competition plays are: Dor Tzeigenboim's madcap "Tevat Lo Noah that loosely translates as "Noah's Awful Ark" in which a kid, a parrot and four adults are adrift on a raft after their pleasure cruise has been upset by an iceberg. The performers are the Panim Theater whose antics used to delight kids on Kikar Dizengoff. Then there's Chocolate, a play for actors and puppets by Ronit Hachim and Abir Hadad about a little girl with a big and difficult secret, and Cinderella's Dance is a different take on the story created by Nima Jacobi with Cinderella as dancer and Prince Charming as acrobat.
Song Factory, his first play by Kobi Medan, is about a girl who breathes songs like others breathe air but today the factory is in chaos because she has her mind on something else. Finally Gadit Cohen presents her Star Tales, a shadow play going back to Greek mythology and its stories of heroes and gods.
The Sand Boy is a fable about a little human boy and a sand boy and learning to stand up for yourself presented by the Alvarez puppet theater from Argentina. You might say it's a fitting tale because four years ago when a suicide bomber attacked the Maza restaurant in Haifa, this theater company turned tail and fled. This, they say, is their chance to try again and not to disappoint the children.
The other two visitors come from Spain and France. The Good Witches of Spain, complete with broomsticks and flamenco, present Bryansbourg Tales, while Le Petit Travers in a clown show portray a couple of musicians trapped in a most peculiar cellar.
Among the activities on the plaza there are shows by the children's TV channels Hop and Logi, various workshops, including one on drumming, and street theater with shows like The Dung Beetle, and a story theater telling tales that children know and love.
There'll also be a Tza'atzuiyada, or toy exchange and if anyone would like to donate toys, they can call 04-9533356. There are 10 venues for events, all, except Stage 2 in Wadi Salib, on the Hadar. They include the Haifa Theater, the Haifa Museum, Beit Hagefen that features two plays in Arabic, and the Hadar Matnas. Tickets start at NIS 25.