The Cameri powers on

Cameri Theater rolls out new Israeli plays, followed by deftly-chosen classics, frosted with a couple of probable crowd-pleasers.

Cameri theater cabaret 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Cameri theater cabaret 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
From its modest beginnings in 1944, the Cameri has grown into a theatrical powerhouse that mounts some two dozen new productions annually, both on its own, in collaboration with other repertory theaters and with struggling little companies in places like Sderot and Kiryat Gat to which it offers artistic and technical support.
For the 2011/12 season there’s a cornucopia on offer for the more than 40,000 subscribers, ranging from new local plays to splashy musicals Long-time artistic director Omri Nitzan says that “My goals for theater haven’t changed. I’m still looking for theater that will mean something to the society it’s among, and I’m still concentrating on the here and now – except that today’s here and now is always different, always changing.”
Three new productions take the theater into the fall, Anat Gov’s Happy End in which a woman confronts both cancer and her life, Hanoch Levin’s 1983 comedy, The Suitcase Packers strung with funerals and miserable people as only Levin creates them, and Arthur Miller’s powerful tale of loss and corruption, All My Sons.
New Israeli plays include Adloyada by Shlomo Mashiah in which lies, and more lies bring disaster, Behind the Fence adapted by Ido Ricklin and Moshe Kepten from a work by poet Haim Nahman Bialik that addresses forbidden love – between Jew and Christian, Identical Twins adapted by Hagit Rehavi Nikolaevsky from Daniel Ben-Simon’s French Kiss about successful twin brothers on different sides of France’s political fence, and not least, a revival of Shmuel Hasfari’s Kiddush that pits the past against the present as it explores Jewish identity.
Plays from the world canon include the rarely given Richard II with the versatile Itay Tiran in the title role. Tiran directs this year too, taking on Ionesco’s Rhinoceros.
There’s also Harold Pinter’s creepy The Caretaker, the swashbuckling Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand and A Comedy of Errors directed by young and gifted Gilad Kimchi – a collaboration with Bet Lessin.
But next year's biggie has to be Cabaret – Tiran plays the MC in this - directed by Omri Nitzan with choreography by award-winning Xavier de Frutos. The other musicals are Hair and Kazablan – an Israeli classic in which immigrants in Jaffa take on the local authorities. It was first produced, by the Cameri, in the 1950s when immigrants were flooding in from all over. It is a joint collaboration between Cameri and Habimah.