Theater review

Falling Out of Time, adapted and directed by Yehezkel Lazarov from the book by David Grossman: Gesher Theater, June 18.

Jerusalem Theatre (photo credit: Rebecca Crown Auditorium)
Jerusalem Theatre
(photo credit: Rebecca Crown Auditorium)
The actors do not take a bow at the end of Falling Out of Time.
The audience, high in the Gesher balcony, claps hesitantly, then files out rapidly. Nor is there much talk.
How can there be after what we’ve just seen/experienced, which is a threnody for the death of children.
Threnody is a Greek word that means an ode of mourning, an apt description of Yehezkel Lazarov’s uncompromising and immensely tender staging; it has the formality of Greek tragedy and packs its tremendous emotional power.
There is nothing more unnatural than the death of a child, whatever the age. Children should outlive their parents, not die before them and so make of their lives a wasteland, or as Lazarov shows us in a film clip, a graveyard of the living.
How do you deal with your child’s death? How do you, can you, put into words that which even your heart struggles continually to accept? And we, the audience, are part of the attempts to answer what Lazarov and Grossman show us. We are, literally, in the middle, or between, or above, just as we are at funerals or memorials.
We know. We’ve had enough of them because death walks always beside us and we’re either part of it, or distance ourselves, giving silent thanks it’s not us this time.
We and the actors are on the stage, in the hall, on the balcony, as the actors make absolute, as it completely is, the distance between the dead and the living.
Doron Tavori leads the cast. His son, killed in battle, has been dead five years but the parents’ grief has not mitigated an iota. The Father will go “there” to search for his son; “step by step by step” he paces barefoot throughout the performance, a reminding presence as the other characters tell their several agonies.
As well as Tavori there are also Micki Leon, Alon Friedman, Lilian Roth among the utterly superb cast.
Designers Keren An, Michael Karamenko, Nadav Barnea, Aline Lazarov and Lazarov himself each added their necessary bit.
Falling Out of Time insists we look Death square in the face, but there is also mercy.
“I want to learn to separate memory from pain,” says the Father, “...I have to say goodbye.”