Theater Review: Everybody Wants to Live

Everybody Wants to Live By Hanoch Levin Directed by Udi Ben Moshe Cameri, June 30.

'Everybody Wants To Live' (photo credit: GADI DAGON)
'Everybody Wants To Live'
(photo credit: GADI DAGON)
Ofra Confino’s colorful costumes, the most dazzling of which is a patchwork greatcoat worn by the Old Soothsayer, heighten the cartoon quality of Udi Ben-Moshe’s Everybody Wants to Live. The Soothsayer is played, with customary understated urbanity, by Levin veteran Itzhak Hiskiya, who also plays Mavetski, the Angel of Death, clad in a black velvet frock coat.
And indeed, underpinned by Lily Ben Nachshon’s steeply raked floor (and not much else), the multiple characters and events of Hanoch Levin’s over-the-top and caustic take on the big D strut, zip and whizz by like an animated film, orchestrated by the unscrupulous and wily Count Pozna’s (Rami Baruch) efforts to keep his life.
Divine Decree has consigned him to death, but if Pozna can find a substitute, the sentence will be remitted.
The inimitable Rami Baruch is another Levin anchor; his ruthlessly amiable and opportunistic Pozna is spot-on as he connives to find a sub: his wife? His kids? His parents? Anybody? Cameri veterans Yossi Graber and Devora Kedar, 88 and 90 respectively, deserve the applause they get as they trenchantly rebuff their son’s emotional blackmail. Consummate comedienne Anat Waxman exploits to the hilt with voice and body the awful Poznabucha, Pozna’s unloving wife. She offers to die in his stead but exacts a dire price.
And the one who first utters the death sentence is the imperturbable Avi Termin, who plays Deputy Angel of Death with his usual po-faced relish.
Among the young actors who adorn the many roles, Tamar Keenan stands out as lewd singer Tzitzi (Hebrew slang for breast).
Admired, then adored, then revered, Levin became an icon before his death from bone cancer in 1999. From the beginning his irreverent revues and comedies skewered Israeli society, slew its sacred cows and pulled no punches. But reality always pokes from the laughter and Everybody Wants to Live seems to be asking just how far we’ll go to keep what we have.
This Everybody has laughter galore. What’s missing is the mischievous glee that impels the laughter.