PRESENTATION No. 3 Spotlight on Israeli female playwrights via three very different plays


Moderator: Hadar Galron

Oh, God! by Anat Gov, Amsterdam by Maya Arad-Yasur, and Revolutionaries’ Wives by Yossefa Even Shoshan and Dalia Shimko.
Is there such a thing as “women’s writing”? If so, what is the difference between female and male playwrights? Why are there so few women writers/directors?


A play by Yossefa Even-Shoshan and Dalia Shimko; Director: Dalia Shimko; Dialogues: Yossefa Even-Shoshan

Inspired by Damn, we forgot Madame Freud again by Françoise Xenakis

Who hasn’t heard of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, and Socrates? And who has heard of Martha Freud, Jenny Marx, and Xantippe?
Everyone knows the expression “behind every successful man there is a woman”. But what does it really mean to “stand behind” a man who is a genius? What price is paid by the woman who stands behind a man? Why, in fact, does she stand behind him rather than beside him? And why does she disappear from the stage of history when he becomes famous? Revolutionaries’ Wives creates an imaginary, but plausible, history that rescues the wives of geniuses who changed the world from oblivion.


Dalia Shimko is a film and theatre actress, director, playwright, and founder of the Ensemble Aspamia theatre group.
In 2003, she established and led an independent group of actors and creators who found a common artistic and personal language. This group formed the basis for a professional ensemble, which has since become an artistic home for creators and actors who have been working since then, and for many others who followed.
The Ensemble brings to the stage original Israeli plays alongside modern-day classics, as well as poetry performances combined with rock music.
All the Ensemble’s performances received excellent reviews.
Shimko’s stage language is postmodern, combining genres, mixing classical and contemporary, maintaining high language, great use of movement and original music, always written especially for Ensemble performances.
All the members of the ensemble are professional actors, some in the forefront of Israeli theatre, alongside young actors and playwrights who have found a professional home where they can grow and perfect their talent.


Yossefa Even Shoshan has been writing for theatre and teaching the art of dramatic writing for the past thirty years. Her writing deals with subversive feminism and draws inspiration from ancient Jewish myths.
Her plays include:
Revolutionaries’ Wives, co-written with Dalia Shimko (Ensemble Aspamia, 2018),
Justice You Shall Pursue (One-Man Show Festival, 2010),
The Night Before (Enea Center, Rome, and Officina Giovani, Prato, Italy, 2009),
Foreign Women (Arab-Hebrew Theatre, Jaffa, 2007),
Cain and Abel, a libretto, (Musikwerkstatt Wien, Vienna, 2002),
Tyre and Jerusalem, an adaptation (Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel Aviv, 2002),
Creation (Akko Festival of Alternative Theatre/La Mama New York, 1999),
The Ludmir Maid (Jerusalem Repertory Theatre, 1998),
The Last Demon (Akko Festival of Alternative Theatre, 1995).


By Anat Gov, Director: Erez Shafrir, The Jerusalem Khan Theatre

Ella is a psychologist, a single mother who lives with her autistic son, Lior. She gets a mysterious phone call from a man who insists on an immediate session. The new client is God, and He is very depressed, so depressed that He is about to destroy His creation, and with no survivors this time. Ella, who has some painful issues of her own, has to stop Him, somehow, in one clinical hour.
The play is a funny, witty, poignant, often brilliant text that poses some intriguing questions about the nature of God and our relationship with Him.
Oh, God! has been translated into several languages and performed in various parts of the world, including Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, USA, Greece; the performance rights have been purchased also in Finland and Estonia.


Anat Gov was born in 1953 in Tiberias. She studied at the Tel Aviv University Department of Theatre Arts.
Writing for television: Zehu Ze (Educational TV, 1981-1991), Yes, What? (comedy series, Channel One), Evening With Gov (Channel Two), and Best Friends (drama series, HOT).
Writing for theatre: Love to Death (1991, Jerusalem Khan Theatre), Best Friends (1999, The Cameri Theatre), which won the 2000 Israeli Theatre Award for Best Comedy, Lysistrata 2000 (2001, The Cameri Theatre), Opposing Sides, a joint project of Israeli and Palestinian playwrights for Theater Heilbronn in Germany (2003), Househusband (The Cameri Theatre), which won the 2004 Israeli Theatre Award for Best Comedy, The Troupe, a stage adaptation of the musical (2007, Habima National Theatre), Oh, God! (2008, The Cameri Theatre), A Warm Family (2009, The Cameri Theatre), Happy Ending (2012, The Cameri Theatre).
In recent years, Anat Gov’s plays have been successfully presented in major theatres in Israel an abroad, gaining international acclaim.


Erez Shafrir graduated from the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio.
Directing includes: In the Land of Tik-Tak (won the Best Director Award at the Children’s Theatre Festival, Haifa Theatre); Start Smiling; Like Chekhov (Short Play Festival, Tzavta Theatre); Run Ayala (Tzavta Theatre); The Next Door and Oh, God! (Jerusalem Khan Theatre); and Moff and Morris (Mediatheque Theatre, won the Stage Prize for Children and Youth for Movement Design).
Performances with the Khan Theatre Company include: Twelfth Night (won the Israel Theatre Prize for supporting role); Les fourberies de Scapin; The Imaginary Invalid; The Merry Wives of Windsor; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Napoleon – Dead or Alive!; Accidental Death of an Anarchist; A Flea in Her Ear; and Antigone.
He has also performed in various productions at Haifa Theatre, The Cameri Theatre, and Habima National Theatre, as well as in television productions and movies in Israel and abroad.


Written by Maya Arad-Yasur, directed my Mor Frank, Haifa Municipal Theatre

A young Israeli musician wakes up one morning in her apartment on the picturesque Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. She wants to fry an omelet, but much to her surprise discovers that she hasn’t got any gas. When she opens the door, she finds on her doorstep a gas bill that has grown to astronomical proportions due to unpaid interest since 1944. Who used the gas during the months stated on the bill, and who is actually supposed to pay it?
Amsterdam is an original, contemporary play written in a polyphonic style: multiple voices that construct possible stories from the past, and transform the protagonist’s stylish apartment into the scene of tragic events.
Truth or fiction? Actual reality or the product of imagination? Amsterdam deconstructs the mechanism of stories we tell ourselves in order to gain a foothold in a chaotic world.


Maya Arad Yasur is a playwright and dramaturge. She holds an MA in Dramaturgy from the University of Amsterdam, from which she graduated with distinction. Her plays have been translated into English, French, German, Norwegian, and Polish, published in magazines, and produced in theatres in Israel and around the world.
Her plays include: God Waits at the Station (Habima National Theatre, 2014; Volkstheater Vienna, 2015; Schauspiel Dresden, 2016; Theater Paderborn, 2017); Ten Minutes from Home (Habima National Theatre, 2015); Suspended (Upstream Theatre, St. Louis, 2016; Deutsches Theater Göttingen, 2018); Amsterdam (due to be produced at Volkstheater Munich next year); and her most recent work, BOMB – Variations on Refusal, is to be produced at the Schauspiel Theatre Cologne.
Awards: 1st prize in ITI-UNESCO’s international playwriting competition for Suspended (2011); Habima prize for emerging playwrights for God Waits at the Station (2014); and Theatertreffen’s Stückemarkt prize for Amsterdam (2018).
From 2007 to 2013, Maya lived and worked as a production dramaturge in Amsterdam. She did her internship on a Johan Simons production, and went on to work as a dramaturge on several award-winning productions that participated in numerous festivals around Europe.

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