Usually, theater from the “big city” is imported to entertain us in the periphery. This weekend, it’s the other way ’round. And WE will be there!
Our regional theater group are performing this evening as part of a weekend-long festival of amateur theater troupes from around the country. We’re performing on a prestigious stage in Tel Aviv: Tzavta 2. Countless talented and famous performers have graced that stage. And tonight: the stage will be ours. For sixty minutes..
We’ve participated in this festival in the past, but this time it’s really something special. It’s a statement. A victory, of sorts.
The performance on which the curtain will rise tonight was supposed to have been given in the fall festival of 2014. But rehearsing in the spring of 2014, in an old wooden hut transformed decades ago into a theater on the border, while rockets are falling near by is not conducive to consistent artistic expression. It’s not easy to concentrate on your lines, let alone your character, when your ears are tuned into catching the first crackle of an incoming rocket alarm, which gives you up to ten seconds to sprint off the stage and take cover in a building nearby which is realistically inaccessible in anywhere near that timeframe. During the summer of the war, rehearsals halted completely. It was completely unsafe to be in our cabin-turned-theater, and totally impossible to concentrate on anything outside of the realm of survival.
So the festival in September 2014 went on without us (the show must go on, they say…)
It took us quite a while – over a year – to get back to an emotional state where we felt we could once again tap into our artistic sources and begin rehearsing again.
Tonight’s performance ran numerous times in the Nir Yitzack “Mini Theater” in the Western Negev before Passover this year. However, in order to get it up and running again for tonight’s performance we had a LOT of work to do, to make up for the death on one of our original players. We had known all along that Amos had been fighting a personal battle with cancer. We had had rehearsals when you could see that he was fighting to collect the physical strength needed to drag himself out of his ailing body, into his character and go on stage. During the performances, when he was backstage, we could see how his usually olive-skin had taken on a greyish tinge, and his body wilted with exhaustion while waiting for the next adrenaline-rush of the next on-stage time. A few weeks after our last spring performance, he passed. His wife is certain that his commitments to rehearsals and performances, lengthened his time here with us.
So against all odds, in honor of the tenacity of our theater group, and in memory of Amos, who I am sure will be watching from the wings high up, I am very excited and proud to be playing for those who come to see us tonight on Tzavta’s Stage 2 at 19:30. I would be honored to have you in our audience.