Children’s joy, lost and found

Now in its 22nd year, the Kesem Shel Agada Festival works its magic to amaze and amuse its young audiences.

GAL CALDERON in ‘Lost and Found' 390 (photo credit: Chaim Yosef)
GAL CALDERON in ‘Lost and Found' 390
(photo credit: Chaim Yosef)
There’s nothing like watching the face of a child full of anticipation at some surprise about to be sprung on them. Presumably there will be lots of eye spreading wonderment expressed at the Lost and Found (Mizvadot VeMetziot) show at the forthcoming three-day Yaron Yerushalmi Kesem Shel Agada (Legend Magic) Festival (August 13-15).
Lost and Found, which will be performed at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on August 13, was devised by Gal and Yaniv Calderon, who trained at the Nisan Nativ acting school before founding the Hateiva Theater which puts on children’s productions up and down the country. The show tells the story of Nola, a bored train station employee who dreams about leading a happier and more exciting life in some faraway place. And, as far as she is concerned, the appearance of a Prince Charming wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
Nola works in the perfect place for cultivating fantasies, the Lost and Found department where all the wayward luggage ends up before being returned to its rightful owners. For her, the multicolored suitcases, which date from the 1920s and were carefully collated by the Calderons from flea markets, contain unseen treasures and adventures.
Interestingly, there is also a show in the Kesem Shel Agada lineup called the Land of the Lost Socks, starring 80- year-old Albert Cohen, so are things going a little awry at the festival? “Don’t forget that the lost things later turn up,” observes Gal Calderon. In fact Lost and Found is shot through with feel good vibes.
Calderon says there are plenty of positive messages to be had in the show. “Nola feels that her life is unexciting and she is waiting for something to happen to her, somewhere far off, and that the happiness she seeks is somewhere beyond the horizon.
But, during the show, she discovers that the happiness is right here.” The moral of the tale will surely not be lost on the children in the festival audience, nor on their parents.
As to be expected from a show tailored for young children, aged 4-10, Lost and Found is a very visual affair. “It is an experiential and highly colorful production, with lots of characters,” explains Calderon, adding that there is also a go-with-theflow element to the tale too. “A wizard turns up in a box, by mistake, but we quickly see there are no mistakes, and the wizard tells Nola that things happen because they are the right thing at the right time.” One can’t help hoping that the drivers among the parents, who will accompany their little ones to the show, will bear that particularly lesson in mind the next time they think of tailgating or honking their horn when the driver in front of them fails to react to a traffic light within 1.74 seconds of it turning green.
“The wizard gradually shows Nola that goodness is right here in front of her, and she has goodness and wonderful things inside her,” Calderon continues.
“Slowly but surely, Nola starts to see how beautiful her life is, and while she has, the whole time, dreamt of falling in love with someone from far away she sees there is someone right near her who loves her.”
Kesem Shel Agada artistic director Michal Mor Haim recently observed that today’s children are far more media-orientated than in previous generations, and that, in terms of their entertainment choices, they tend to mature far more quickly.
However, Calderon says that the Hateiva Theater’s work is not impacted by this. “When I write a children’s show I never define it as something for children,” she states. “I don’t set the bar higher or lower. All the shows we do are for children, and also for the parents sitting next to them. I would like them to go through the experience of the show together, with each understanding the spectacle according to their own ability.”
Hateiva Theater productions, says Calderon, are tailored to accommodate different degrees of maturity and understanding. “All our shows have lots of messages and various levels to them, and everyone in the audience takes whatever they want home with them from the shows.” She adds that patrons have some work to do too. “We don’t spoon feed the children or the parents, and we try to leave everyone we some food for thought.”
The age range at which the Calderons aim Lost and Found is intriguingly wide. “I think the show is also suitable for 12 years olds,” says Gal. “I always set the bar high and we are not scared of offering things with deeper meaning, and characters with deeper aspects to them. Our shows are always very physical and there is a lot of humor, of varying degrees of subtlety, some of which the younger children may not get, but that’s fine. There is no danger of our productions challenging small children to become prematurely sophisticated. We approach our work from a very innocent angle, but I am also a great believer in not selling our audiences short.”
For tickets and more information about the Kesem Shel Agada Festival: (03) 510-5656, and