Great prose can sweep you right off your metaphorical feet in a way that no other art form possibly can. But it doesn’t mean we can’t try… Adapting a novel into a play is like walking on a wire across the Grand Canyon – it requires immense concentration, balance and attention to the most subtle of nuances. We invite you to a conversation with a few such brave souls who dared take on such a feat – and lived to tell all about it.
The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv
A play Based on stories by Etgar Keret
Adapted by Zvi Sahar and Oded Littman, Directed by Zvi Sahar, PuppetCinema
A writer is sitting alone amid the heap of rubble that was once his room, his life. Suddenly, a knock on the door: three despairing people come up to him in their search for solace and demand that he does what he has decided never to do again – tell a story. Left with no choice, the writer takes them into his narrative world, where he hopes they will understand the price he pays for the stories they want to hear.
Etgar Keret’s short stories are resurrected through PuppetCinema Zvi Sahar’s unique theatrical language that employs a combination of video, puppets, and actors. Keret’s unique writing that weaves the most mundane with the wild and the fantastic, the humoristic with the painful, becomes a battlefield between the writer and the people seeking to force his stories out of him. All of this in a production that touches upon essential questions regarding the complex relations between solace and escape, and between power and art.
ZVI SAHAR is a director, actor & puppeteer, founder of PuppetCinema. In 2009, he established PuppetCinema, presenting Planet Egg at Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse, NYC. Since then, he has continued to develop his unique language, mixing puppetry and video in such works as Salt of the Earth (based on Amos Kenan’s The Road to Ein Harod) produced by HaZira Performance Arts Arena (American premiere BAM’s Next Wave Festival 2014). In 2017 Sahar premiered two new shows – Gulliver, based on Jonathan Swift’s satire, produced by Hazira Performance Art Arena and Suddenly, based on Etgar Keret’s book of short stories, produced by The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv and scheduled to perform at BAM’s Next Wave Festival (December 2017).
Born in Ramat Gan in 1967, Etgar Keret’s books were published in more than 40 languages. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Paris Review and Zoetrope. Over 60 short movies have been based on his stories. Keret resides in Tel Aviv and lectures at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He has received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize several times, the Prime Minister’s Prize (1996), the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Prize, the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize (UK, 2008) the St Petersburg Public Library’s Foreign Favorite Award (2010) the Newman Prize (2012) and the Charles Bronfman Prize in recognition of his work imparting an inspiring Jewish humanitarian vision (2016). In 2007, Keret and Shira Geffen won the Cannes Film Festival’s “Camera d’Or” Award for their movie Jellyfish, and Best Director Award of the French Artists and Writers’ Guild. In 2010, Keret was honored in France with the decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Keret’s latest book, The Seven Good Years, was chosen by The Guardian as one of the best biographies and memoirs of 2015. Keret was recently announced as the winner of the 2016 Charles Bronfman Prize in recognition of his work imparting an inspiring Jewish humanitarian vision.
Booking: Sigal Cohen, Dir., International Relations
HE WALKED THROUGH THE FIELDS
Beit Lessin Theatre
By Moshe Shamir
Adapted by Shahar Pinkas, Directed by Kfir Azulay
A new version of one of the greatest and most moving love stories ever written for the Israeli stage
Set during the War of Independence in 1948, the tension in the air is palpable as the young men of the kibbutz go out on Palmach operations, and some do not return. At the same time, World War Two refugees are arriving in Israel. Mika is one such refugee – beautiful, proud, and keeping her fragile past secret. She falls in love with Uri, the handsome, tousle-headed, sensitive, rugged, courageous kibbutznik. Uri goes off on a mission, leaving Mika with child. The fruit of a love without purpose in a land that eateth up its sons.
The immortal novel by Moshe Shamir has been adapted for the screen and stage and has gained a place of honor in the history of new Israeli drama. Now this beautiful and compelling love story is presented in a new version.
Moshe Shamir was an author, playwright, opinion writer, and public figure. Born in 1921 in Safed, he grew up in Tel Aviv. He served in the Palmach during the War of Independence in 1948. During his political career he shifted from being a leftist and a kibbutz member in the 1940s, to the center-right following the Six-Day War in 1967, and to the extreme right following the peace agreement with Egypt in 1979.
His stories, written from a young age, attracted immediate attention. They often dealt with political issues, and aroused frequent opposition. He Walked Through the Fields won the Ussishkin Prize. It was adapted for the cinema and directed by Yosef Milo (founder of the Cameri Theatre and Haifa Theatre), who also directed its theatrical debut. Shamir was a prolific author, publishing more than 25 books in the course of his life.
Kfir Azoulay is a director and theatre music composer. He holds a BA and MA in directing from the Department of Theatre Arts at Tel Aviv University. Plays he directed include, at Beit Lessin: Mimouna, He Walked Through the Fields, and The Secrets; at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv: Electra, and Disgraced; at Habima National Theatre: Our Class (Polish Theatre Festival), and Hedda Gabler; and at Beer Sheva Theatre: Selichot, The Cuckoo’s Nest, Nora, Pangs of the Messiah, and Blood Wedding. Fringe and other productions – The Goodman Acting School of the Negev: Blood Wedding, Witch-Hunt, The Chinese Knife Sharpener, and Hefetz; Yoram Loewenstein Acting Studio: Screw the Stranger, Terrorism, and War; at University Theatre: Hunting Scenes from Bavaria, and Phaedra’s Love; at Tzavta Theatre: One of Us (Future of Theatre Festival), and Grandma’s Day (Cry, The Beloved Country Festival); and at Hasimta Theatre: Mensch Meier, Service Elevator, and Shooting Rats. Composition – at Hasimta Theatre: Escorial; at The Arab-Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa: Emergency Landing; at Tzavta Theatre: An Enemy in the Room (short theatre), and Yahli; and at Reading Theater, Beit Lessin: Miscalculation.
He is a two-time recipient of the Yosef Milo Prize for Directing for Electra and Disgraced.
Booking: Kineret Tzur, Production Manager
By Sharon Silver-Merrett and Ari Teperberg, Directed by Ari Teperberg
Adapted from the book Two Rivers and the Big Sea by Haim Ascher
A theatre piece with puppets and objects
“I gave away some copies of my memoirs to family members and acquaintances,” writes Haim Ascher to his granddaughter, “but most of the copies are gathering dust on my bookshelf.”
Amongst the lengthy and over-detailed descriptions, in the space between written and spoken words, the granddaughter tries to decipher his writings using objects, letters and puppets.
With the support of Hanut31 – Theatre & Gallery and Mifal Hapais Council for the Culture and Arts
Sharon Silver-Merrett is an artist of puppetry and object theatre. Following her puppetry studies in London at the Central School of Speech and Drama, she designed shows, in which she also participated and toured England and Ireland collaborating with Pickleherring Theatre and Dog and String Theatre. She returned to Israel in 2005 and has been teaching puppetry in the Puppetry School in Holon, The Puppetry School of Dvora Tzafrir, House9 in Haifa, as well as running a puppetry group for people for people with special needs. She designed and created puppets for Halomot Pah (Rahok Theatre), Tsatsua BaRibua (Almina Theatre), Gveret Klum (Karon Theatre), Me’il HaPla’im (the Karon Theatre, received a commendation from Assistage). In 2010 she designed and performed in Crinolina.
Booking: Sharon Silver-Merrett
YOU DON’T FIGHT A DUEL NOWADAYS
Beer Sheva Municipal Theatre
A play by Shahar Pinkas, Directed by Shir Goldberg
Based on Vladimir Nobokov’s A Russian Dozen
An amusing and touching adaptation of three short stories describing the life of Russian immigrants in Berlin of the 1930s.
One day Anton Petrovich returns home from an out-of-town business trip and finds his good friend Berg in his home, getting dressed in the bedroom, while his wife Ilka is taking a shower and singing in the bathroom. With help from his friends Romantovksi and Tomek he challenges Mr. Berg to a duel.
Eleonora wakes up one evening and discovers that her husband, Pilgram, intends to leave her and their son Karl, and embark on a long journey in search of semi-transparent redeye butterflies.
Gustav, who is the neighborhood rent collector, is caught stealing and is dismissed from his job.
The financial pressure leads him to bully his neighbors, Romantovksi and his brother Tomek, and even casts a pall over his plans to marry Anna, an elementary schoolteacher who dreams of leaving the neighborhood and traveling to Paris.
The stories interweave and extend over one week during which the characters, each in their own way, attempt to change their situation and life.
The longing for “another world”, “a different life”, leads the characters to take extreme and surprising actions, after which their lives will never be the same.
Shir Goldberg and Shahar Pinkas both graduated from the MFA directing program at the Theatre Department of Tel-Aviv University. Shir has directed productions in leading theatres in Israel. Shahar writes original texts as well as stage adaptations of novels and short stories, and serves as resident dramaturge of the Habima National Theatre. Mutual productions include: The Lover, an adaptation of the novel by A.B. Yehoshua (Habima National Theatre, 2014), The Overcoat, an adaptation of Gogol’s short story (Khan Theatre, 2013), A Man Does Not Die In Vain (Habima National Theatre, 2013); Tehilah, an adaptation of the novel by nobel prize laureate S.Y.Agnon (Khan Theatre, 2012); My Father Is Not A Bird (Israel Festival 2011); Meat Ladies And Gentlemen (Herzliya Ensemble, 2011); they co-created with Moshe Perlstein Walk(No)Man (Acco Festival for Alternative Theatre, 2005).
Shahar’s other plays include: The Promised Land (Habima National Theatre, co-written with Shay Pitowski, 2013, 2011) and Perseus and Medusa (Haifa University Theatre, 2009); Dramaturgy projects: The Miser (Habima National Theatre, 2014), The Oath (Habima National Theatre, 2013), The Merchant of Venice (Habima National Theatre, 2012), Ministers Of War (Habima National Theatre, 2012), Beaufort (Habima National Theatre, 2011) and Electra and Orestes, the Trial (16th International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, Cyprus, 2012).
Shir also directed: The Adventures of Odysseus (Gesher Theatre, 2014), Don Giovanni (the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, 2012); The Good Person Of Szechwan(Nissan Nativ Acting Studio, 2012); Sinn (Tmu-na Theatre); The Flute Concert (Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra); Be Beautiful (Israel Festival, 2006);
Shir is the recipient of the Israel Festival Award for Promising Director for Be Beautiful, which was also awarded for Best Original Creation at the Encounter Festival, Czech Republic (2007).
Booking: Nuphar Barkol, International Relations