Children haven't been forgotten at this year's Israel Festival.
By RACHEL S. MATTHEW
From May 24 until June 10, the Israel Festival will bring a whirlwind of creative entertainment to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Holon. Performances in theater, dance, and music will take place at venues across the country, and this year a special "Children's Festival" has been organized to give youngsters the opportunity to appreciate some of the finer arts, with a more palatable, age-appropriate presentation.
The festival promises more child-themed events this year than any other, and artists from around the world are working to ensure an unforgettable experience. Although the creators of the Israel Festival designed the Children's Festival with its youthful audience in mind, the events are happily suited to the young-at-heart, and not just the young. The plays, clowns, musical groups and special performances from around the world all tell their own stories and often teach valuable lessons.
Among the plays and musical performances are stories and adaptations from one of the world's most prolific and best-loved children's authors of all time, Hans Christian Anderson. Most of the children today who love his work do not even realize he is the author of some of their favorite stories, like The Little Mermaid, The Tin Soldier, and The Princess and the Pea. With this family-friendly choice, parents will be able to reminisce with their children about their own about childhoods, and children will see classic children's literature brought to life.
Two performances at the festival are from Anderson's mammoth collection. The Little Match Girl and The Most Beautiful Rose in the World will each be performed for a young audience and their adaptations should be interesting - particularly the latter. In Anderson's original version, the loveliest rose is Christ's blood on the cross, so an adjustment for a Jewish audience should be intriguing.
One of the most anticipated shows comes from the Pep Bou Company in Spain. Pep, (the artist, director, and performer) is a master manipulator of soapy water. His massive bubbles are a true vision. No words are necessary in this piece, as Pep creates soapy masterpieces and the bubbles do the work reflecting colors and light.
"Buuu," another production from Spain, also requires no language. The world renowned Yelena Theater troupe teaches children how to deal with fear by showing the funny side of monsters and goblins.
All the shows available reflect an international flavor and are an excellent way to introduce a child to the arts.
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