Theatre Review: The Short Play Festival

Theatre Review The Shor

The Short Play Festival Tzavta, Tel Aviv December 23-26 The Short Play Festival this year featured seven plays. I saw six of them. Childhood by Rachel Shalita is a tenderly directed, unsentimental look at childhood moments that stick, like the arrival of the little brother, moving, grandma's illness. Picture seamlessly succeeds picture. Actors Etti Vaknin and Ro'i Assaf switch roles from child to adult and back, never losing credibility or focus. The director is Nellie Amar. Dental Interrogation by Ido Seter, inspired by Pinter's One for the Road, is chillingly effective. Dentist/interrogator Ofer Amram (shades of The Marathon Man), "converses" with his browbeaten victim (Gil Strauss) whose only word throughout, in an un-named place at an un-named time, is "Joanne." It's all terribly civilized. the violence is implied, yet very present. Amram is also the director. Metamorbosis (Jiljul), written by Yoni Lahav and directed by Tal Brennner, is a brilliantly realized, funny and uncomfortably close-to-the-bone musical parody of Kafka's famous story, except that here the hero turns into an Arab rather than a cockroach. Actors Orna Rotberg, Dori Ben Zeev, Nir Ron, Yossi Tzabari and Aviya Brosh relish their roles. The Way Down, written by Alma Weich Hoshen and ably directed by Orly Rabiniyan, is a tawdry tale whose actors, Hen Danon-Zachs and Eli Menashe, deal honestly with a pat, dishonest text that exploits mental retardation and injury to tell the tale of a man, a woman, jealousy and longing. Dealers, by Amit Erez, is a tale of multiple deals, double crosses, violence and more violence, both ethical and actual. The language is taut, the situations believable, and the actors inhabit their characters with conviction. Rodya Kozlovski makes a great "bad cop." The director is Shmuel Shmuelov. Michal, by Michal Hazon, shows the aging Michal (Adva Edni), abandoned and imprisoned by King David, as she confects a phantom pregnancy to comfort herself. The mini-musical never rises above the predictable and the banal although the all woman cast gives it its best.