Habima celebrates new season

Israel's national theater adds 12 new plays.

ill have what shes having 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ill have what shes having 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Habima National Theater will exchange its gypsy existence for its newly refurbished theater probably not before 2012, but staunchly, its planned two-year season is ready for the eventuality with an adaptation to the stage of the movie When Harry Met Sally, scheduled to open back home.
Twelve new local plays, some eight classics, four musicals and four contemporary works comprise Habima’s 2010-2012 roster. There are also premieres (one Moliere and another with Theater Europe) by the energetic and gifted Young Habima, both directed by Shai Fituvski who gave us, deliciously, Gogol’s The Nose.
Yael Ronen’s production of Hanoch Levin’s posthumous Morris Schimmel, a wry comedy about a grown man still tied to Mama’s apron strings opens the season in September.
The local plays also include literary adaptations: One is A.B. Yehoshua’s famous first novel, The Lover; another, by Ido Ricklin, tentatively entitled The Satirical Cabaret of Dr. Fabrikant, is based on the book by Yirmi Pinkus in which the dying Dr. confides his aged actresses to his young cousin; and The Good Psychologist, based on the book by Noam Spentzer, and adapted and directed by Hanan Snir, himself a clinical psychologist.
Then there’s Under a Magnifying Glass, a collaboration with the Dusseldorf Municipal Theater in which four young playwrights from each country will examine the often-charged German/Israel relationship. There are also two comedies with one-word title, Screwed, a romantic (ahem!) comedy by Zadok Tzemah, and Stuck, by Daniel Lapin, about a decision to divorce that has – well – problems.
The classics include two Molieres, The Imaginary Invalid, directed by Ilan Ronen, and The Would-Be Gentleman, by Moshe Naor; Shakespeare’s duel of wits, Much Ado About Nothing; and a revival not only of that perdurable drama, Durrenmatt’s The Visit, but also the immortal The Good Soldier Schweik.
Back to our own time, Next to Normal, a drama with music by Tom Keith, centers around a manic-depressive woman whose family strives to hold it together, while Heroes, by Gerald Sibleyras, is a bittersweet comedy about three old WWI vets plotting their escape from the old-age home where they now live. Dori Parnes is the translator.
The musicals include Funny Girl, revivals of King Solon and Shalmai the Cobbler, Casablan and Nine on the Square, inspired by the songs of Danny Sanderson, and written and directed by the awesomely talented Maor Zagorri.
Under the sane and steady leadership of Odelia Friedman, Benny Tzarfati and Ilan Ronen, our national theater has emerged from the chaos that plagued it for more than a decade.