From Shakespeare to Pumi

Haifa Children’s Theater Festival diversifies.

PUMI [See Here What's a Tapir?] by Roni Hefer  (photo credit: Courtesy)
PUMI [See Here What's a Tapir?] by Roni Hefer
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival will take place again this year during Hol Hamoed (the intermediate days of) Passover, from April 24-29, at and around the Haifa Municipal Theater. As always, the festival will feature plays in competition, guest productions from Israel and around the world, free street theater, exhibitions and more.
The sooner children are exposed to Shakespeare, the better. With that in mind, the Haifa Theater will be offering a version of Twelfth Night for ages six and up. This specially adapted, child-sized story tells the tale of mistaken identities, pranksters, lovers and a poor-faced wannabe who gets what he deserves.
The eight plays in competition, all original, include Pumi (See Here, What’s a Tapir?) by Roni Hefer. Pumi, a baby tapir, loves the bedtime stories his mother reads to him, except there’s never one about a tapir. So he decides to find out why (for ages five through nine).
Four to eight year olds will enjoy Puz’s Book of Records by Keren Hovev, based on the book by David Grossman about an ambitious rabbit.
Ornan Brier wrote, directed, designed and acts in The Man and the Box, for ages four and up. It tells the story of a difference of opinion between a hurdy-gurdy and the chap inside that might end grimly.
A Visitor for Bear
by Bonni Beker is a musical about a grumpy bear and the little mouse who wants to be his buddy.
In a festival first, Lusha Gavrielov will offer Aptchee, a play designed to appeal to children who might be considered on the autistic spectrum. It’s a non-verbal, physical piece about a clumsy, awkward clown who’s dying to go fishing. But he’s got a terrible cold. He goes out anyway, and oops! An enormous sneeze.
The 16 street theater plays include offerings from Spain, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, France and, of course, Israel. Most will be performed on the Haifa Theater plaza. The plays last from just a few minutes to about half-an-hour, and most can be enjoyed by the entire family.