The Miracle of Russian-Israeli Theatre: From Alienation to Identity

By Yahil-Wax, Miriam | Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

The Miracle of Russian-Israeli Theatre: From Alienation to Identity


Yahil-Wax, Miriam, Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought


IN APRIL 1991, A FEW WEEKS AFTER THE FIRST GULF WAR, I was invited to see a Russian theatre show in Tel Aviv, as chair of a government committee that was allotting money to immigrant theatre groups. The members of the company all came to Israel with the giant wave of immigration from the crumbling Soviet Union, and I had already seen most of them perform: Excellent puppeteers, good choreographers, dancers, actors, each with his little show case and big dreams. But nothing prepared me for Gesher Theatre.

Gesher is one of the few bilingual theaters in the world, and stages every play with the same group of actors alternately in Hebrew and in Russian. It represents one of the outstanding examples of inter-cultural theatre, and indeed serves as a bridge for the new immigrants from Russia to Israel.

The birth of a theatre company is a rare event. Neither survival nor success were guaranteed to Gesher Theatre when it was founded in Israel in January 1991. In fact, rehearsals began during the Gulf War and neither the public nor the media showed much interest. But the energy and dedication on the stage had to do with survival as well as with art, and Gesher soon grabbed everybody's attention.

This very young theater, the brainchild of new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, has a unique artistic vision that combines the best traditions of Russian theater with an original and innovative approach. Their first production was Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (April 1991). It was performed in Tel Aviv in Russian, with simultaneous translation into Hebrew. An astounding success, the show was soon invited to represent Israeli Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (NY, January 1992) where it was highly acclaimed by the public and critics alike.

Gesher has since become the main attraction in international theater festivals and has performed in Zurich, Basel, Avignon, Berlin, Manchester, Brighton, and London. The recent tours of the UK and Germany with Joshua Sobol's Village were both triumphs. The show met with an enthusiastic audience reception and rave reviews. City, adapted from I. Babel's "Odessa Stories" was successfully presented at the Lincoln Center in Washington DC and crowned the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Israel. Village and Adam Resurrected met with a warm reception at the Lincoln Center Festival '98 in New York.

Its influence on Israeli theatre is considerable, and a group of young Israeli actors joined the company in order to study its ways and ideas. With this group, Gesher 2, we hope to develop a special program for directors' training which is much needed in Israeli theatre today.

Gesher is supported by the Ministry of Education & Culture, Tel-Aviv Municipality, & Cellcom Israel.

Today Gesher's repertoire includes nine productions, all directed by Yevgeny Arye, its founding Artistic Director. They are:

           Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard
           Dreyfus File, by Jean-Claude Grumberg
           Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Margalit Award for Best Play of
               1993)
           Adam Resurrected, by Alexander Chervinsky, based on the novel
               by Yoram Kaniuk
           The Lower Depths, by Maxim Gorky
           Tartuffe, by Moliere
           Village, by Joshua Sobol (Israeli Theatre Academy Award for
               Best Play of 1996)
           City (Odessa Stories), adapted from Isaac Babel
           Three Sisters, by Anton Chekhov
           Friends of Navot, by J. Shabtai
           The River, Ostrovsky (Without a Dowry)
           Intrigue & Love, Schiller (director: Leander Haussmann)
           Sea, after Goldoni (Chioggia) (2000)
           Mr. Brink (2001)
           A Midsummer Night's Dream (2002)
           The Slave, Bashevis Singer (2002)
           Shosha, Bashevis Singer (2003)
           Afterplay, Brian Friel (2004)

Gesher was unexpected in every way. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Miracle of Russian-Israeli Theatre: From Alienation to Identity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.