Theater Review: The Tired Hero

The Tired Hero is billed as a requiem for an unborn child.

Habimah Theater 521 (photo credit: Itsik Marom)
Habimah Theater 521
(photo credit: Itsik Marom)
The Tired Hero is billed as a requiem for an unborn child. We conceive, bear and bring up our sons to become cannon fodder, says this angry, anguished polemic. On a stage by Pancho Edelberg that resembles a desert after a battle with photos of loved ones ground into its sands, four mothers, two of whom are played by men, strain to give birth. The hero emerges clad in khaki and with a caul around his head.
The tradition has it that a child born with a caul is destined for greatness. The savage irony of this caul is that the hero is destined for an early grave, where annual commemorations to his memory will elevate him to the greatness he might have achieved.
As he grows, each of the four mothers exhorts the boy through the several myths each holds as a truth. One mother is a Holocaust survivor, disciple of the “never again” ethos. Another has already lost two sons and is resigned to the loss of this third.
The third is a patriotic kibbutznik wedded to the collective, and the fourth, already clad in black, prepares the hero to give his all for the Homeland.
But the IDF itself has changed, says the play. It has lost its ideals, has become the oppressor, has internalized the trappings of might.
“Values change,” says the woman in black.
“Nobody prepared us for this kind of war,” cries the Soldier, “we’re no longer the good guys. ...Mother, tell me I’m a hero.”
The actors are not listed by character but all are effective, especially the one playing the mother with two sons already dead.
The players are Dor Aloni, Ido Yona Yimin, Adva Levi-Goshen, Tehiya Suliman and Motti Tamam.
This is not an easy play to watch, mainly because it makes its point too shrilly. Sometimes speaking quietly shouts loudest.