Israeli Stage Announces Its Fifth Anniversary Season
Israeli Stage, sharing the diversity and vitality of Israeli culture through theatre, proudly announces 2014-2015, its fifth anniversary season, featuring its first full theatrical production: the North American premiere of Ulysses on Bottles by Gilad Evron, winner of Best Israeli Play (2012), presented in partnership with ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage. This new drama features award-winning actors Jeremiah Kissel, Will Lyman, and Karen MacDonald, all who performed in the Israeli Stage staged reading of this play in 2012 at the Goethe-Institut Boston. Performances will take place April 9-25, 2015 in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center (559 Washington Street) in Boston's theatre district. Tickets range from $25-49 and may be purchased by visiting artsemerson.org.
"The growth of Israeli Stage has been tremendous," says Guy Ben-Aharon, Director and Producing Artistic Director of Israeli Stage. "From an experiment guaging interest in Israeli drama in 2010, we have produced 50-some programs at twenty institutions across New England. We couldn't be prouder entering this new phase solidifying Israeli Stage within the greater Boston's cultural landscape; collaborating with talented artists as Karen MacDonald, Will Lyman, and Jeremiah Kissel; and to partner with a world-class institution like ArtsEmerson."
Additionally, the new season will feature three staged readings of Israeli plays Never Ever Ever, written bySivan Ben-Yishai (September 14, 2014); Make My Heart Flutter, written by the 'father of Israeli drama' Hanoch Levin (November 2, 2014); and Games in the Back Yard, written by Edna Mazya (February 15, 2015). Readings will take place at the Goethe-Institut (170 Beacon Street) in Boston's Back Bay. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased by visiting IsraeliStage.com.
"I first read Ulysses on Bottles on the bus on my iPhone," says Guy Ben-Aharon, Director and Producing Artistic Director, Israeli Stage. "I never read an entire play digitally, but I simply couldn't wait to get to a printer or even a computer. It is one of the most beautiful scripts I have read coming out of Israel. The struggles of what it means to have freedom, enable freedom, and prevent freedom are interwoven masterfully into this poetic play that brings together a Jewish-Israeli lawyer, an Arab-Israeli literature teacher, and an Israeli intelligence officer whose paths would otherwise not cross."
"It's only fitting," says Rob Orchard, Founder and Executive Director of ArtsEmerson, "that Emerson College alumnus Guy Ben-Aharon's young company Israeli Stage enjoys its first full production here at ArtsEmerson. We're proud of his hard work showcasing Israeli plays in Boston, and happy to join together for Ulysses on Bottles this spring."
"Since being part the first reading of this wonderful play," says actor Will Lyman, "I'm very excited to be involved with it in the first full production of this great young company, dedicated to bringing different world views onto our American stage. I remember the sentiment that art is not intended to reinforce our complacencies, but to provide us with new opportunities to connect with the larger world around us."
"An important part of creating value for the cultural landscape of Boston," says David Dower, Director of Artistic Programs, ArtsEmerson, "is creating opportunities for Boston's artists and companies to be part of our "World on Stage" programming. I look forward to to supporting this important milestone for IsraeliStage and the great company of actors Guy has assembled for the production."
"I have had the experience of performing and also seeing theatre in Israel," says Karen MacDonald, award-
winning actor, "and it was powerful. The culture of the theatre is deeply engrained in the country; the playwrights deal with moral, political, human questions, both unique to their own experience and pertinent to the world at large."
Ulysses on Bottles: Synopsis: An Israeli-Arab literature teacher nicknamed Ulysses builds a raft made of bottles to carry books to sail to the shores of Gaza. With the naiveté of a madman he believes classical literature about bigger-than-life subjects is vital. He insists on bringing not French literature, that he says "dances," nor American literature that is "preoccupied with itself," but Russian literature that is a breeze that rises higher than the kites they fly on the shore. This is a poignant and critical play about people living in separate and different realities where life of privilege is pitted against life of deprivation. The play raises profound questions about society's fragile values, morality, humanism and freedom; it is actually an allegory of the definition of freedom - what it means, what it entails and what it demands.
Ulysses on Bottles: Artistic Biographies
Guy Ben-Aharon (Producing Artistic Director of Israeli Stage and Director of Ulysses on Bottles) was born in Israel, founded Israeli Stage, an initiative dedicated to sharing the vitality and diversity of Israeli culture. After the success of Israeli Stage, Guy was asked by the Goethe-Institut Boston to develop German Stage, by swissnexBoston to develop Swiss Stage, and is currently developing French Stage for the Consulat Général de France and Austrian Stage for the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. His dedication to internationaltheatre has resulted in tours throughout the East Coast from Toronto to Atlanta. He earned his undergraduate degree in directing from Emerson College and lives in Boston.
Gilad Evron (Playwright) is an Israeli playwright, screenwriter and author. During 1976-1979 Evron studied Visual Arts at Betzalel Academy in Jerusalem. Evron's first script, Bread was produced by the Israeli television in 1985 and won the "Prix Italia" international award (1986) for best fictional television drama in Europe. Evron continued to write for Israeli television and cinema, but turned also to the theater. His first play, Rain, was brought to the stage in 1988. Since then, Evron's plays have been presented at Israel's major theaters and theater festivals, winning recognition and several awards; most notably for Jehu (1993) and Ulysses on Bottles (2012) as the "Best Original Play of the Year", and The Prime Minister's Award to Hebrew Author (in 1997). Between the years 1996-1998, Evron was the playwright in residence of Israel's National Theater, Habima. Evron's plays have been staged in France (2009) Germany (2012) and Austria (2014). In 2003 Evron published his first book, Mareh Makon (Other Places), a collection of short stories. "The Falcon," one of the stories in the book, was published in the British literary magazine Granata (2005). In 2009 Six Plays,a collection of Evron's plays, was published by Tel-Aviv University.
Three Staged Readings of Israeli Plays will be premiered at the Goethe-Institut Boston, followed by tours across New England.
Never Ever Ever | Written by Sivan Ben-Yishai | Premiere: September 14, 2014, 7PM
Yoni (Jordan Ahnquist*) runs away from school, from home, from himself. He runs away the moment he's confronted with the words disabled or dyslexic. In this moving one-man play, Ben-Yishai provides the audience an experience of what it's like to feel like an outsider, feeling different, being differently-abled, yet, at the same time whole.
Make My Heart Flutter | Written by Hanoch Levin | Premiere: November 2, 2014, 2PM
Love and its crushing disappointments are at the center of Hanoch Levin's Make My Heart Flutter, a romantic comedy without the romance. Full of laughter and irony, the play touchingly portrays our desires, and our potentially missing out on life, without even knowing it.
Games in the Back Yard | Written by Edna Mazya | Premiere: February 15, 2015, 7PM
In the summer of 1988, a horrifying rape was perpetrated on the Kibbutz Shomrat in northern Israel, shaking the entire country. Seven 17-year-old boys repeatedly raped a fourteen-year-old girl, abusing her both physically and mentally.