Theater review: Suitcase Packers

As do most Levin plays, this one captures the essential pathos of our lives as well as their ridiculousness.

Suitcase Packers 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Suitcase Packers 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ruth Dar’s non-set for Hanoch Levin’s The Suitcase Packers says it all, that we’re talking here of content, not packaging.
On a bare stage, five families, bearing with them the balconies that symbolize their apartments, expound the lives they don’t live from birth to death – and go to the funerals that punctuate those lives.
And ours, as this play reminds us.
Hannah Marron, without saying a word, beautifully catches Bobbe Globchik who obstinately refuses to inhabit the oblivion to which her son, Munia, a nicely exasperated Ohad Shahar, wants to consign her. Rivka Michaeli revels in the role of the disheveled, terminally dissatisfied Henia Gelernter. She’s mother to the terminally indecisive Elhanan who packs his case to go to Switzerland, but never gets there, and whom Dror Keren covers like a second skin.

Levin veteran Ezra Dagan’s Bruno Hofstetter is a lovely mix of memory and hope while Esti Kosovitzki as his wife Tzila adds charm and grace to the mix. Avi Termin shines as Henia’s elegant late husband Zvi and as suave Alphonse. Rosina Cambos as Bianca Shuster, Odelia Mor-Matalon as her poor on-the-shelf daughter Bella, and Motti Katz as glib seducer and inept eulogist Alberto, grab their roles with disciplined gusto.
The Suitcase Packers catches, as do most Levin plays, the essential pathos of our lives as well as their ridiculousness so that we get both laughter (lots of it), and some tears. Udi Ben Moshe directs with reticence, letting the play speak for itself. I think Levin would have been proud.