Second child syndrome

Stav Marin and Neta Weiner present a new work, ‘Mejinik’, which addresses the topic of sibling rivalry

(photo credit: ASKAFF AVRAHAM)
On our first date, my husband casually mentioned that he is a second child. We immediately connected over the matter, discussing the ins and outs of growing up with an older sibling. Over the years, especially as parents of two, the topic comes up often. But it was only yesterday, thanks to choreographer and performer Stav Marin, that I discovered there is a Yiddish word for second children, Mejinik.
Like myself and my husband, Marin and her life and work partner, performer, director and musician Neta Weiner are both second children. Their new work, titled Mejinik, is a trio set to premiere next week at Tmuna Theater and deals with the relationships between siblings.
“Neta has a brother, and I have an older sister. The subject of sibling relationships has interested us, intrigued us, for many years,” explains Marin over the phone. Her voice is velvety, hinting at the smooth contralto she employs to sing in various of hers and Weiner’s previous works. “We wanted to address the topic from a mature place, to see the power of it and the influence of it on who we are.”
In Marin’s eyes, Mejinik continues a train of thought that she and Weiner have been riding for the past year. This journey has included several creations in varied constellations and countries. “This piece marks the closing of a circle for us in a way. It goes to a place that talks about relationships in an intimate and exposed way, and how the public arena influences or is influenced by them.
All of the pieces we made dealt with those ideas. We had Cut. Loose, then we made a piece for Re-Search students that was presented in the A Genre Festival. It was our first time working with a group. We continued to create a piece in Estonia for a dance company. Mejinik feels like the climax of this year, of the connection between physical and spoken language and of our research into the meeting point between martial arts and dance. It’s the meeting place between Neta and myself.”
In Cut. Loose, Marin and Weiner weave together a score of actions that relates to Israel’s political reality and their partnership. They do this using song, text, props and movement. Marin lets on that, aside from movement, these performative elements once made her wary. “The meeting with Neta challenged me to face things that I had chosen not to do, because they aren’t my forte and I was afraid of them like text, words, speaking and singing. Those things seemed crazy to me. It’s hard for me to talk in general, in life. I’m a dancer, I don’t talk,” Marin laughs. “In our meeting, those concerns went away. I started by with my dealing with the barrier I had with language.”
Marin continues that her first milestone in conquering her fears was in the solo I’m Just a Question, in which she explored the gendered speech of the Hebrew language. “Since then, I haven’t shut up on stage.”
In Mejinik, Marin and Weiner expanded their duo to include a third performer, the actor Benny Adler. “Benny is also a mejinik. Through the process, he became a brother. There is a closeness between us like three siblings. It is our first time creating with another person. He’s part of our ensemble now and we have to translate to him and transfer to him what we are doing. It’s challenging and amazing and has taught me a lot,” says Marin.
“We are joined by an incredible crew that has been with us now for several projects. Yoav Barel, the lighting designer, is a huge part of our work. Also Mish (Michael Rozanov), who illustrated the images for this work as well as for Cut. Loose,” Marin adds.
Marin shares that Mejinik was created at the invitation of Tmuna Theater, a condition that bore great significance throughout the creative process. “It felt really big for us,” she says. “It’s so different from presenting work in a festival. Tmuna is already our home but this invitation was very moving.”
The process has been accompanied, fittingly, by Marin and Weiner’s older siblings. Marin’s older sister, Or, is a choreographer, teacher and director of the Netanya-based professional training program Re-Search (housed in the Marin family’s Habustan Theater and studio) while Raz Weiner hails from the theater field. Marin adds that both the Marin and Weiner parent sets will also be involved in the performance but does not want to share any other details about that.
Mejinik will premiere on January 17 and 18, February 21 and 22 at the Tmuna Theater.
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