Tel Aviv experimental fringe theater company Tmuna hosts festival of plays, music

The event aims to present a realistic and accurate picture of contemporary art while still allowing artists to break with conventions and truly go after their vision.

MARTA ZIOLEK’S ‘Make Yourself’. (photo credit: DAWID GRZELAK)
MARTA ZIOLEK’S ‘Make Yourself’.
(photo credit: DAWID GRZELAK)
Often, a work of art is a reflection of the conditions in which it was made. The country, political climate, social environment, level of financial support, season and personal lives of the participants all impact the outcome of a creative process. Just as importantly, the conditions in which the work first meets an audience can carry weight on the choices made throughout the process. For many of the artists who will present new works during the 16 days (September 15 to October 1) of the annual Tmuna Festival, the stage, crowd and open energy of Tmuna Theater most certainly allowed for the refreshing freedom to take risks.
Curated by Nava Zuckerman and Yair Vardi, the Tmuna Festival is now in its fifth year. The event aims to present a realistic and accurate picture of contemporary art while still allowing artists to break with conventions and truly go after their vision. Over the course of two-plus weeks, the south Tel Aviv theater will host theater, dance and music performances from Israel and abroad.
The festival will begin with a premiere by choreographic duo Niv Shenfeld and Oren Laor. Entitled You Happy Puppet, this trio addresses the need of the public to be distracted from the harsh reality facing humankind today.
“For one hour, we will raise the morale of the public and warm hearts with dances and melodies that are catchy and pleasant in order to distract from the surrounding storm...,” write Shenfeld and Laor of the piece. Unlike many of the duo’s previous works, which featured veteran performers, this creation features three young dancers. This choice was made to highlight the falsely optimistic picture so often presented in dance performances.
Further along in the festival’s program, two foreign dance artists will perform at Tmuna. The first is Berlin-based Herman Heisig. He will present Slap/Stick, a solo piece that explores the comedic body. Using gestures and gags from several well-known comedians, Heisig composed a score that delves into the movement and implications of eliciting laughter.
Another foreign guest is Marta Ziolek, with her Warsaw-based performance group. Ziolek’s Make Yourself uses pop music, graphic costumes and a ton of attitude to look at style, language and sexuality. In Ziolek’s words, “The plot is set somewhere between a workout gym, a techno party and a corporate church of mindfulness.”
Anat Katz and Erez Maayan will present their first new work in over two years during the festival. Created as a commission for the Tmuna Festival, Multi is a quartet for women, Katz included, that looks at the implications of the endless multi-tasking of today’s society. Katz and Maayan embarked upon a long research expedition, tapping into neurological studies and psychological experiments, all of which pointed to the fact that multi-tasking, while common, is in fact impossible. As in their previous works, Katz and Maayan explore this revelation with the aid of text, music, video, movement and props.
At the tail end of the festival, choreographers Ido Feder and Daphna Horenczyk will share a stage with two new works. Feder’s Which Dance shows two female soldiers, one bored, one kind-hearted. Their contribution to the cause is questionable, and yet these two insist on taking part. Feder created the work in the spirit of German performer Mary Wigman’s 1921 Witch Dance.
Horenczyk’s Calipers brings a single body to the stage. Covered in an oversized hood and seemingly without a face, this being struggles to break out of molds. Horenczyk’s movement is influenced by street dance, pop and rock, mixed with contemporary rhythms and gestures.
Choreographed in Israel and in Munich, where Horenczyk lives, Calipers presents the up-and-coming choreographer’s refreshing aesthetic.
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