Metrotainment: 15 minutes for 15 years

The Tzavta Tel Aviv Short Play Festival celebrates a milestone.

'Six' in Tzavta Tel Aviv Short Play Festival 521 (photo credit: Ran Biran)
'Six' in Tzavta Tel Aviv Short Play Festival 521
(photo credit: Ran Biran)
To emphasize its 15th anniversary, each of the nine short plays at the Tzavta Tel Aviv Short Play Festival from December 26 to 29 will be 15 minutes long. There are three sets of plays, each dealing with different aspects of one of this year’s three themes: “home,” “time” and “war.” The festival includes 14/48 – The World’s Quickest Theater Festival – and from this year will be called the Erik Hoch Short Play Festival in memory of Erik Hoch, who died two years ago. A fervid supporter of Tzavta, he was the CEO of the Kibbutz Artzi’s Havatzelet Foundation for education and culture.
Festival artistic director Eli Malka says that the chosen plays reflect “a reaction in real time to the social and political situation in our country. Israel today is struggling with questions of its identity, today and what it may be down the line.”
The “time” set includes Six, based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez which tells of a barman, a client and 15 lost minutes. The “home” set offers Housewarming, in which an Israeli and an African migrant worker battle over an abandoned property. Hoo-Ha Mi Ze Ba? (in English, “Humdedum, Who has Come?”), part of the “war” set, is about a family waiting excitedly for the prime minister.
Roy Reshef, 14/48’s artistic director, brought the idea from Seattle in 2010 with its founders’ blessing.
The project offers 14 plays in two series of seven, each 10 minutes long, chosen, conceived, written and rehearsed over 24 hours with the subject, the directors and the actors all chosen by lot. The first seven are chosen by the participants.
The audience chooses the next seven.
In each case, an answer to the statement “The theater would be better if it dealt with…” is written on a slip of paper and thrown into a hat. What emerges is the subject.
Previous subjects have included “the neighbor upstairs,” “Ruth the Moabite” and “the underworld.”
The playwright writes the play overnight, it’s rehearsed all the next day and then presented in the ‘Six’ (Ran Biran) evening – all on high-octane energy.