Fringe it ain't

The Clipa Aduma visual theater festival returns with interesting - if not unusual - offerings by local acts and from abroad.

clipa aduma 88 (photo credit: )
clipa aduma 88
(photo credit: )
My last question for Idit Herman, artistic director of Clipa Aduma, an international festival for visual theater and performance arts, was how she might convince a public that's never seen visual theater to come. "It is the most accessible theater," she answers. "There is nothing to understand. It is an ultimate connection between a plot and the consequential emotions." A fine answer indeed, but all that is really needed to drum up an audience is to take a look at the itinerary - it includes performances, the likes of which, you've never seen before. Take Pinoccio, for example, a play from England that takes place in the back of a car while driving around Tel Aviv for an audience of three. Then there's Pandora 88, from Germany, which takes place in a box. And, On the Edge from France that mixes dance with circus acts. These three are but the tip of the iceberg. If you google Clipa Aduma it appears among fringe related subjects, but Herman has great disdain for this classification. "We are nothing like fringe theater," she says. "In Israel, fringe means something experimental and unripe. Visual theater is over-boutique. Our theater is like a gourmet restaurant while fringe is a cheap, all-you-can-eat buffet." Herman is also the artistic director of Clipa theater, home to visual theater in Israel. Originally a dancer and choreographer, she established the theater in 1995 along with actor-creator-musician Dmitry Tyulpanov. "Visual theater is a theater that's not based on text," she explains. "Text may be used but it is secondary. The main element is the movement, the appearance of things. The creators of visual theater show everything up to the smallest button. It is a total creation." Clipa Aduma festival was founded out of the theater's members' desire to show and teach the audience new streams in visual theater. "We went to many festivals all over the world. We were envious and curious," Herman recalls. "So we decided to bring all those great groups to Israel. Sadly, some shows are too big to fit our small venue. However, every show we bring is incredible." This year the festival hosts four groups from abroad. "Take for example," Herman says, "the play Lev from Italy. It is based on the diaries of a Russian soldier who tries to reconstruct his lost memories after a bullet hits him in the head. It is so very precise that I am baffled as to how they pull it off. They control light, music, screens moving up and down. Yet, it is not a mechanical performance at all. Rather, it's very poetic." The festival also shows 12 artists from Israel performing such original plays as Tovva - about the transformation of an old woman into a young girl - and Kappa - based on Japanese anime, presenting the story of Kappa, a beloved satanic character from Japanese mythology. "We hope to create the next generation of creators. This is why we host such plays and why we hold a master's workshop," says Herman, who concludes our conversation with her expressed desires for the proliferation of visual theater in Israel. The festival takes place from July 15-31 at the Clipa Theater - 38 Rehov Harekevet; (03) 687-9219. For more details visit