The Old Neighborhood
By David Mamet
Translated and directed by Moshe Naor and Assaf Tzippor
It's all there - the profanities, the verbal sword-play, the seeming non-sequiturs, vintage Mamet, you might say; sit back and enjoy. Except that in the perhaps-autobiographical The Old Neighborhood Mamet plunges into the American-Jewish experience, which, for us here, in this disputed place and time, adds poignancy.
As always, Mamet uses language like a scalpel to peel away skin and flesh and lay bare his characters' insecurities, ambivalences and frustrations.
Neighborhood is actually three short and interlinked plays. In this beautifully directed, funny, sensitive and cumulatively wrenching production, Bobby Gould (Menashe Noy), separated from his gentile wife, returns to the neighborhood where he grew up for three meetings with his past. Those meetings, with childhood pal Joey (Dvir Bendek), his embittered sister Jolly (Orli Zilbershatz) and her nearly silent husband Carl (Roberto Pollak), and finally with Deeny (Yarden Bar-Cochva), Bobby's childhood flame, only serve to intensify the loneliness, alienation and confusion.
As Deeny says, "going back leads to nothing; passion is the only thing that matters." But true passion is what none of them have ever really had, and actors Noy, Bendek, Zilbershatz, Pollak and Bar-Cochva, each most splendidly and in their own way, show us just that. Bravo Haifa.