Theater Review: 'The Divide'

By Einat Yakir; Directed by Oded Kotler; Khan Theater, November 9.

‘THE DIVIDE’ (photo credit: GERARD ALON)
(photo credit: GERARD ALON)
The misspelled English title – The Devide – neatly describes this botch of a play. It’s predictable, repetitive, banal, contrived and, except for the always impeccable Nir Ron, overheated.
Why on earth would Oded Kotler take it on? See below.
Ilana (Nili Rogel) and Noah (Yossi Eini) live in a shabby studio apartment pregnant with metaphors. One side is lined with faceless rag dolls of various sizes whose manufacture occupies Ilana.
The other side is stacked with pots containing apparently dead plants, the subject of Noah’s research.
From the get-go we realize that these people are seriously unhinged, as is their landlord Tsali (Ron), because the three are linked by a past, and continuously regurgitated catastrophe.
When Tsali orders Noah and Ilana to vacate the apartment, whatever fragile normality existed snaps, and surreality is the order of the day.
Rogel as bare-footed Ilana, dressed in a bedraggled nightgown and robe, seems to be pressing a series of buttons to change moods and modes of speech and action. She runs the gamut from near catatonic to shrieking virago, and none of it rings true. Eini’s constricted, frustrated Noah is more believable, but he has little to work with. Unless he’s very volubly ordering the couple out, Ron’s repressed Tsali relies on his face and body to communicate.
Is Divide an allegory for today’s Israel adrift and floundering? In the clear light of the day after, one suddenly realizes that possibility. Such a realization should be facilitated by the performance, subject matter and text, but can’t be because all we’re given is a dreary, seemingly pointless domestic melodrama.