Theater review: Foes

Foes is about how each side in our 100-year-old Arab-Jewish conflict perceives the other.

Foes (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Ya’akov Eyali, a prize-winning poet, must realize that you can’t string together a bunch of slogans and call it a play.
Foes is about how each side in our 100-year-old Arab-Jewish conflict perceives the other; the progression of a mutual incomprehension that has gone from attitude to opinion to theory to fact.
The play’s protagonists have no names – “we” live in a fancy villa, “they” come from “the delta.”
The action takes place against Daniella Mor’s deliberately drab, black/white/grey two-story backdrop set which turns in mid-action, walls smashed through, wires dangling, to reveal the couple’s bedroom. The Hus- band (Eran Ivanir) is going on a trip, leaving The Wife (Nataly Attiya) to oversee the planned renovation of the villa, which she has designed. The workmen are a Father (Gil Frank), wearing a bushy Stalin mustache, and his Son (Motti Lugassi).
The Wife is afraid to be left alone with “them.” The Husband assures her there’s nothing to fear and leaves, reap- pearing as a deus ex-machina toward the unpredictable end. Veering between scolder and siren, The Wife alternately berates and woos The Father, to whose homespun philoso- phies she listens to with breathless attention.
“Remember... that we are we... and that they are they... and they know it...
they know their place,” The Husband says before he leaves.
Not quite.
The characters are essentially placards, so it is not surprising that neither Ivanir nor Attiya manage to become real people. Attiya goes from posture to posture, with no demonstrable reason for the transition. The Husband is more of a prop than a character, but Ivanir can’t seem to make him a convincing one.
The acting honors go to Frank and Lugassi. The Son has very little to say, but Lugassi’s body language makes him eloquent. Frank, understated as usual, invests The Father /Man with both sensuality and a controlled ferocity that compel excitement. It’s a shame that the play doesn’t.
Foes By Ya’akov Eyali Directed by Oded Kotler Herzliya Ensemble March 3