Playing men

Choreographer Galia Fradkin explores the inner lives of Israeli soldiers in her latest work ‘Kadawa.’

Kadawa 370 (photo credit: Mickey Alon)
Kadawa 370
(photo credit: Mickey Alon)
When choreographer Galia Fradkin set out to explore the inner lives of men, she had no idea that she had just bought a one-way ticket to the military.
However, in the first few meetings with her cast of male performers, it became clear that there was no getting around this tricky subject.
Thus, Fradkin and her team jumped right in, uncovering long forgotten moments from each of their respective army duties.
Fradkin will present the fruits of this research this week during the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Other Dance Festival.
The Other Dance Festival is dedicated to presenting young and emerging choreographers. The program is divided into four mixedprogram evenings and two guest evenings, of which Fradkin is one.
As a guest artist in the festival, Fradkin will show the entirety of Kadawa, which premiered earlier this month at the Tmuna Theater, on the black box stage of the Yaron Yerushalmi Theater.
“Kadawa” literally means “tag,” or a type of game played by young boys. The piece includes many visual elements, from six strong performers to a set designed by Dana Zarfati to video art. While the work strays from the playfulness implied by its title, there is a definite, unusual maleness to this piece that is immediately felt.
“I once did a piece only about women, about the world of women,” explained Fradkin in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. Fradkin has been present as an independent choreographer and cross-media collaborator for many years. Her work has been seen on stages across the country. After a short break from the performance scene, Fradkin returned to the studio to take on a new challenge.
“Now I decided to work with men,” she said. “My cast is comprised of all Israeli actors. The idea was to explore the world of men in Israel. They have all done army service. In this case it turned out that everyone had done service in a combat unit. The army is one of the dramatic, important and influential stations in their lives. So we went forward with that.”
Over nearly 12 months in the studio, Fradkin delved into the issues that greet most Israeli men upon their release from military service, a phenomenon specific to this country. “We looked at PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and such,” she said.
As they discussed the aftermath of the months spent in green uniforms, the topic of rebirth surfaced once and again. Through their conversations, the actors were able to pinpoint the moments of difficulty, mainly the “what now” sentiment that met them upon release from a singularly intense period of time.
“We talked about the need to survive and to compete. I see a parallel here to the movement of sperm, something that really connects to the strife these men feel in their lives.”
This sense of sudden freedom is echoed in a video art segment called Dune.
“We buried them in sand and watched as they found a way to free themselves,” explained Fradkin.
Images such as this one help to paint the picture of what Fradkin believes to be a national experience. And while all of this may seem intensely political, Fradkin has no interest in making major declarations.
“I don’t have a single statement that is political. I am bringing my own feelings and the experiences of the actors in this piece. The men in this piece, they really brought their own experiences. This is not my work any more than it is theirs. The experiences and the things they brought to this work came from their inner lives. Everyone can take from it what he or she likes,” she said.
Kadawa will be presented at the Suzanne Dellal Center on August 27 at 9 p.m. For more information, visit