Possessed voices

Hansen House opens its doors to the Voice of the Word festival.

The Dybbuk  (photo credit: PR)
The Dybbuk
(photo credit: PR)
In 2000 Hazira Haben Tchumit, a Jerusalem-based culture and theater organization, launched the first annual Voice of the Word festival.
“This festival’s initial aim was to research the relationship between word/text and performance art, but with time it has evolved into so much more,” says Hazira director Guy Biran.
With past year themes such as recipes, grandmothers and letters, this year’s theme goes deeper and darker with the subject of dybbuk (described in Jewish mythology as a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person). Curated by Biran and Sala- Manca Collective members Diego Rotman and Lea Mauas, this year’s festival will take place in Jerusalem’s thriving multimedia and art center Hansen House.
Last year, Sala-Manca Collective brought their Mamuta project to the Hansen’s dark cellar, becoming permanent residents of the spooky space where most of this eerie festival will be held, besides some exhibits in the garden and attic.
The festival will bring three days of sound, music, light and performance art, including collaborations with various artists and performers, such as Sala-manca, Joseph Sprinzak and Victoria Chana, who participated in the first festival 14 years ago.
The dybbuk theme brought about the decision to focus on S. Ansky’s classic play The Dybbuk, written by the Russian Jewish author and playwright in 1914.
Rotman’s experience teaching a Hebrew University course called The Dybbuk: Between Ethnography and Culture has obviously greatly influenced the curation of this unique festival. It reflects on spiritual transformation, resulting in an assorted mix of artists and performers of a wide age range expressing their own direct and indirect takes on the dark subject matter through new original pieces exhibited in the festival.
The first and third days of the festival will share the same program, with a different program on the second day. Sprinzak’s sound and light performance piece of several lamps coming to life and conversing among themselves, addresses the subject over 17 minutes in a very contemporary fashion. Father-daughter duo Eliezer and Ettel Niborsky will revive the play by reading parts of it in Yiddish. Vocal artists Victoria Chana and Noam Inbar will exhibit a voice and sound performance of the play in Yiddish as well.
Adi Kaplan and Shachar Carmel will be screening an edited 20-minute version of the 1937 film The Dybbuk, with a pre-recorded soundtrack played by 50 teenagers from the Jerusalem Music Academy’s Conservatory Orchestra.
The festival will present various other carefully selected performance art pieces, such as Shira Borer’s Kabbalistic hearts and letters piece titled Beet Soup; Carmel Bar’s undanceable wedding music DJ set in the Hansen’s garden; and Li Lorian’s objects theater.
November 24 to 26 at Hansen House in Jerusalem.
NIS 50 to NIS 70. Tickets can be purchased online.
For a full program of the festival and tickets, visit www.hazira.org.il