British playwright John Donnelly explored the limits of education in his 2011 play The Knowledge. Now he returns to class with A Series of Public Apologies to offer a hilarious examination of a proper school crumbling to bits trying to find out who, exactly, wrote that “life is not worth much” on the school walls, whose blood was used to write it and, oh dear, could that be human feces?
Translated by Noam Frank, who also directed and designed the costumes, the production offers a rapid succession of styles and gestures that are intensely funny and, at times, thought-provoking.
Locked at the school, the teachers and headmaster (Agam Ozalvo) perform sketches from reality TV, sing in a choir and engage the audience in an attempt to control the damage, then plunge head first into the awfulness of first-world problems.
A head-first dive into the awfulness of modern first-world problems
“What is your favorite swear word?” Bar Miniely asked a shocked patron. The man told her what it was and Carmi then lead the entire audience to chant it in unison.
As their mobile phones buzz news from the world outside the locked door, the teachers inform one another of what is happening.
“Those who support [MK Simcha] Rothman are against us!” One shouts, then learns that, actually, “those who oppose Rothman are against us!”
This may be the first attempt to address the furious protests sweeping the country on stage. It is telling that this is done by young actors and has taken on the shape of a British comedy.
English theater may examine a bleak British future, Foxfinder by Dawn King for example, recently shown at Tel Aviv University Theater (by director Yulia Keidar); or a society rapidly dissolving as in Death of England by Roy Williams and Clint Dyer at the National Theater, but it cannot imagine not having an England.
In a similar fashion, A Series of Public Apologies touches on a unique Israeli core belief that we are here to stay.
When the door on stage finally opens, it is not an angry mob that enters the theater and burns it down, it is a promise of a new generation that will, we hope, do things better.
A Series of Public Apologies will be shown on Fri., July 7, Sat., July 8, and Thu., September 7. All shows are at 8 p.m. Hebrew only. NIS 260 per ticket. 75 minutes long, no intermission. Note that the hall is Gesher Hanger 11 Derech Eilat St. and not the Gesher Theater which is at a different location. Call (03) 5157000 to book.