Theater Review: 'Yerma'

The bare stage and harsh white lighting contribute to the play's inherent bleakness.

Theater Review 88 (photo credit: )
Theater Review 88
(photo credit: )
Yerma By Federico Garcia Lorca Translated and adapted by Shimon Buzaglo Directed and adapted by Ofira Henig Herzliya Theater Ensemble July 15 Ofira Henig, in her explanatory note to the production, wants Lorca's words to take on "a life of their own and create a world…" but words without context are meaningless. Similarly, the performance of a play must communicate intelligibly with its audience, even if the audience must reach for that communication - that is theater's essence. This Yerma rips Lorca's words from their context, and despite the imagination, daring and, yes, eroticism that imbue it, it never completely delivers. Yerma is a childless married woman in a loveless marriage whose need for a child makes her increasingly obsessive and finally overwhelms her. She both heeds and is unheedful of village life and the gossip that fuels her husband Juan's suspicions regarding her attempts to conceive. A child is not a priority for him, and when he finally tells her so, her mind snaps. Henig's Yerma, very courageously attempted by Gili Ben Osilio, views a heightened, increasingly skewed world in which men play women and mounting savagery arrives through farce. The men, Nimrod Bergman, Yoram Josephsberg and Uri Ravitz, handle their multiple roles and long skirts with aplomb, especially Ravitz, who as the Wise Woman is at once eerily frightening and deftly comic. As Juan, Moti Katz is both stolid and vulnerable: an achievement. The bare stage and harsh white lighting contribute to the play's inherent bleakness, but the presence of three stainless steel sinks that nobody even approaches embody the bafflement this Yerma aroused.