Theater Review: 'The Spit'

A critique of "The Spit" (written by Gideon Reicher, directed by Denise Shema) performed at the Tzavta Theater November 6.

The Spit 370 (photo credit: Denise Shama)
The Spit 370
(photo credit: Denise Shama)
On the one hand, seeing Gidi’s (Michael Koresh) vain efforts to revenge himself on the young thug that spit at him through the window of his car at a traffic light, one is tempted to say, as does his wife Nira (Dina Bley-Shor), “Oh, grow up!”
On the other hand, the play, formerly gathering dust for years in veteran journalist Gideon Reicher’s desk drawer, is suddenly topical because it addresses the culture of violence with which we have so dyed the fabric of our lives that it endangers our national being.
That said, the play needs editing. It tends to belabor a point lest the audience miss it as – for instance – the loveless relationship between Gidi and his mother, excellently portrayed by Natalie Feinstein. And the ending is clumsy.
The Spit is based on an incident which Reicher experienced, and moved past, unlike his protagonist. In the play, poor Gidi can’t get over the humiliation of being spat at and he loses wife, livelihood, and what little self-respect he may have had as he toils for “justice.”
The idea of setting events in a boxing ring, and extending the metaphor to the sound of a bell signifying the beginning and end of a “round,” works. Within it Gidi sets the scenes for his encounters with the police, an enforcer, his wife, his shady partner (Shai Zabib) – it is his partner’s son who is the spitter – his mother and so on.
Unhappily Koresh’s portrayal of Gidi is too uni-dimensional. We see the humiliation, we see the growing frustration. What we don’t see is the man on whom these work. He is a statement rather than a character.
As his long-suffering wife the always excellent Dina Bley-Shor is also confined more or less to a statement although she manages to evade it enough to give the piece what color it has. The other actors do not seem to have been encouraged to move beyond caricature. Pity, because this is a piece that could resonate.