BWW Review: WHO KILLED ARLOSOROFF - THE MUSICAL by MYSTORIN THEATRE
This show is very difficult for me to describe, because it's so many things. I can start by saying it's not a musical. Though the definition of "musical" is broad, it is not an umbrella beneath-which this show would find a place, in spite of the songs and tunes intertwined in it.
Even the word "show" is only descriptive of it under the loosest of terms, and so the term "audience" would not be one I'd use to describe the people who pay for the tickets.
So what is this show? I'd call it a confusing blending masterpiece of an experience that revises the unwritten contract between audience and performer.
This beautiful group used its special abilities and rare style to create another in a series of unusually brilliant performances. Their style is an unmistakable trademark, and anyone who's ever seen one of their productions could never mistake their work for anyone else's.
As they've done for previous productions, they've chosen an emblematic venue - a small museum in the most vibrant part of Tel Aviv. A gem of a building few are aware of.
They invested in spectacular costumes to suit the spirit of the show perfectly (when I say the costumes suited the spirit of the show I don't mean there was a well-dressed ghost, I mean the costumes were a perfect look for the people in them).
The group surpassed themselves by no longer integrating the audience in the show through the occasional minor interaction, but rather by making the audience a part of the entire show; -Interacting with the audience at all times as if this wasn't a show at all, but rather a bunch of people chatting in a museum.. Simply put, the show has no audience.
People who come to "see" this show play the part of stand-ins on a movie set, while the show's cast play the kind of characters one would find on a movie-set: the actor nervously rehearsing his lines, the self-conscious actress concerned with her looks, the chatty make-up person sharing his pearls of wisdom with the people in the make-up chair.
The audience then takes part in the filming of a movie about the murder mystery of Haim Arlosoroff - a significant figure in Israeli history. Though the piece is not really about the mystery so much as it is about the making of the film.
The none-audience can walk around the spaces in the museum aimlessly, as they run into cast members who may or may not interact with them in the different rooms and hallways. This makes every room an adventure - you never know what you're going to walk into. There are no scenes, no stories, no beginnings and no endings - like life, it's a big blended mess of things to discover and no one tells you where to go.
I felt the best part of this masterpiece was what happens when interacting with a cast member. They might be just walking by and saying hi. They might be in the character of the actor or actress as they prepare to film a scene. Or they might be in the character of the actor who is in character in the film. Confused? Good, it means you're probably getting it. I think.
This piece is not one to create strong emotions, elicit tears or roll people in laughter. It's one of intrigue, adventure and curiosity. The only issue I can see with it is the target audience. This beautiful work which has had so much work put into it is definitely not for everybody.
Unlike their previous show - SEVEN - which is perfect for all of humanity, this one seems to be suitable for a limited audience. Not only does a viewer have to be in the kind of mood that allows them to participate actively in a show and not expect any walls - real or imaginary - between them and the performers.
The difficulty of climbing up and down 3 floors of the museum without stopping or sitting might be a serious problem for some art lovers, though I found the intrigue so exhilarating and appealing that I didn't notice how much my feet hurt until I got home.
My personal opinion is that this piece deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible for all the work put into it, for it's unique artistry, for its vision and its beauty. I hope it gets what it deserves.
Photos taken from the show's trailer.