Theater Review: Acre festival

Marat Frechomovski’s Napoleon, tackles head on what is for some the Occupation, for others the Liberation of the territories taken in 1967.

Mikro theater 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mikro theater 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
This Acre Festival bristles with angry commentary on, as it were, the way we are, much of it thrown onto the stage like elongated agit-prop, but without that form’s real bite. It is not (as is said), necessary to be a rocket scientist to realize that Marat Frechomovski’s Napoleon, also directed by him, tackles head on what is for some the Occupation, for others the Liberation of the territories taken in 1967.
Napoleon resurrected, returning to Acre in the name of brotherhood and peace, takes his audience prisoner and for two hours it is subjected to verbal abuse, humiliation, even physical restraint.
What interests is not so much the piece’s obvious message, or that oppression is oppression whatever the uniform, but the audience reaction which ranges from giggles to overt fury. The real theater is there, not in the piece which by its format cannot engage us, and when the actors at the end of it shed their bully-façade and mingle with the audience.
Let’s Play is another “what have we become?” play that uses the TV game show format to castigate society’s ever accelerating descent into racism, censorship and all the other trappings of what the collective authorship perceives as our growing fascism. Once again, the message is crystal clear, but as theater Let’s Play doesn’t communicate, and neither can its actors however hard they try, and they do.
Kids chant melach mayim (water salt) if a bee or a wasp sting threatens.
The incantation drives off the danger. This Water Salt is a textual dance piece in which five young women change clothes, gang up on one of their number, make vigorous and imaginative use of the five chairs that constitute the set and move gradually from order to near chaos. Precisely and sensitively performed, it touches the mind but not the emotions. Physically together, the performers, each of whom chose their own texts, are emotionally apart. But a piece like this needs to connect, and this one doesn’t.