Zisl and Azriel are yeshiva students living in the Polish town of Frampol. While devoutly studying together, they discover their mutual attraction. As they cannot maintain a relationship in their small town, they decide to run away to the city of Lublin, but soon discover that in order to live together, one of them must disguise himself as a woman. Zisl agrees to do so despite the strict law forbidding men to wear women’s clothing.
They try living together in Lublin as man and wife. Azriel opens a small shop, and Zisl becomes a seamstress. Zisl cannot go to the yeshiva, or pray with men in the synagogue. He is willing to sacrifice everything in order to remain with his lover, but Azriel feels that his own sacrifice is unbearable; he wants to marry a woman, have a son, and live as all men do. Their relationship deteriorates, but they are unable to separate. Both men realize that their love is so profound they would rather die than live without it.
In this new visual and sensual stage version, highly acclaimed director Ido Rozenberg takes a notable distance from the shtetl-aesthetic, and updates a thrilling stage language, based on rhythm, movement, and humor. His protagonists appear to “rebel with a cause” against any coercing society.
Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in 1904 in the Polish town of Leoncin. He grew up in Warsaw, and lived on Krochmalna Street – which became the setting for many of his stories and novels. As a young man, he removed his religious garb, and worked as a proofreader for a Yiddish journal. His only son, Israel Zamir, was born in 1929. In 1935, following his older brother, Singer immigrated to the US, and worked as a journalist. His success as a writer began with the publication of his first collection, Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories (1957), and The Magician of Lublin (1960). Over the next two decades, his popularity grew, most of his books were translated into English, and he began writing children’s books, and producing new stories, novels, and collections in both Yiddish and English. In 1978, Singer received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and became the only writer in Yiddish to receive this honor. Singer continued to write and translate his stories and novels throughout the 1980s. He died in July 1991, and was buried in New Jersey. His most famous novels include Satan in Goray, The Family Moskat, The Slave, Enemies, A Love Story, and Shosha.
Israel Zamir, the only son of Isaac Bashevis Singer, was born in 1929 in Warsaw. In the late 1930s, Zamir and his mother Runia came to Israel, and his father immigrated to the US. When he was sixteen, Zamir was sent to Kibbutz Beit Alfa in the north of Israel, and later joined the Israel Defense Forces, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. Many years later, Zamir recalled some of his traumatic battle experiences in his book Turn Off the Sun (2004). In 1960, Zamir married Aviva, his wife of over fifty years, and they had four children and nine grandchildren. Zamir was a journalist, an author, and a translator. He wrote many articles, published eight books in Hebrew, including Agil Baozen (The Earing), and Sandal Shel Sus (The Shoe of a Horse). His book Journey to My Father, describing his reunion with his father after being apart for twenty-five years, was translated into English and other languages. Israel Zamir died in November 2014, at age 85, after being a proud kibbutz member for almost eight decades.
Most of Motti Lerner’s plays deal with political themes. They include: Kastner, Pangs of the Messiah, Paula, Pollard, at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; Exile in Jerusalem, Passing The Love of Women, and Doing His Will at Habima National Theatre; Autumn at Beit Lessin Theatre; Hard Love at Haifa Municipal Theatre; The Hastening of The End at Jerusalem Khan Theatre; and The Admission at Jaffa Theater. His productions in Europe include: Kastner, Autumn, The Murder of Isaac at Heilbronn Theater, Germany; Exile in Jerusalem in Stuttgart, Berlin, and Vienna; and Hard Love in Rome and Berlin. His American productions include: The Murder of Isaac at Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore; Passing the Love of Women at Theater J in Washington DC; Pangs of the Messiah at Theater J, Silk Road Rising in Chicago, and Theater of Ideas in New York; Benedictus at Golden Thread Theatre in San Francisco, and Theater J; Paulus at Silk Road Rising; Hard Love at TACT in New York; The Admission at Theater J; and After The War at Mosaic Theater in Washington DC. He is the recipient of the Award for Best Play (1985), and the Israeli Motion Picture Academy Award for Best Television Drama in 1995 and 2004. He won the Prime Minister of Israel Award for his creative work (1994), and the Landau Prize for Performing Arts (2014).
Hanan Snir is one of Israel’s most prominent directors. For the past forty years he has been an acting and psychodrama professor at Tel Aviv University, Kibbutzim College of Education, The Hebrew University, and the Open University, and he was recently appointed head of the Psychodrama Department at The Academic College of Society and the Arts.
He is a graduate of the Department of Theater Arts at Tel Aviv University, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He was a trainee director at the Royal Shakespeare Company under Peter Brook (1970), and directed at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London (1970-1972).
He was an associate director at Beer Sheva Municipal Theatre (1972-1974), Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv (1977-1982), and Habima National Theatre (1984-2018), where he also served as artistic director from 1992 to 1993. In 2007, he received the Israeli Academy Awards for Best Production, Best Director, and Best Adaptation for Sophocles’ Antigone, and won the Awards for Best Play and Best Director in 2015 for Słobodzianek’s Our Class. In 2017, he won the awards for Best Director and Best Playwright for his play To the End of the Land. Snir’s plays have been performed in numerous theater festivals around the world, including Japan, USA, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Taiwan, Venezuela, Romania, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Cyprus. In 2015, he received the Israeli Theater Award for Life Achievement.
Ido Rozenberg is an actor and director. He graduated with honors from Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, and Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts. Ido is a recipient of the Zvi Klir Award for Excellence in all three years of his studies there. He is also a recipient of the AICF Award for Gifted Artists. Ido was nominated for the Israeli Theater Awards in the category of Most Promising Actor, for his roles in The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia (Billy), and Antigone (Haemon), and in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his role in the musical Hair (Woof). Selected directing credits include Beit Lessin Theatre: Zero Motivation, Passing the Love of Women; Hasifriya Theatre: Perfect Wedding, Red Light Winter; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: Israeli Native; Beit-Zvi School of the Performing Arts: Murder, Fiddler on the Roof, Village, Our Town, My Fair Lady, The Day I Stood Still, The Little Prince, Rents; The Israeli Youth Theatre: Greta, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Peace To The World, Yes/No/Black/White; Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts: Chicago, Pippin, Company, The Breakfast Club.