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26-27. November, 7 pm
Vidám Színpad
(1065 Budapest Révay u. 18.)

 

MIKVEH

 

Written by: Hadar Galron
Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel-Aviv
With Hungarian subtitles!
Post-show talk on the 27th of November

Cast: Tracy Abramovici, Miriam Gabriely, Anat Magen- Shabo, Nataky Ne'eman,
Hadas Kalderon, Naama Shapira, Dana Schreyer, Shiri Sitton

Scenery: Kinereth Kisch
Costumes: Neta Haker
Music: Eldad Lidor
Light: Felice Ross
Directed by: Micah Lewensohn


First Production: 08.08.2004 (still on stage)

Running time: 2 hours, with an interval 

Background
The play takes place in a local Mikve in an ultra-orthodox neighbourhood in Israel. Mikve is the ritual bath in which religious Jewish women (from wedlock until menopause) immerse once a month (7 clean days after the monthly period) in order to purify themselves from the impure blood and be once again permitted (physically) to their husbands.
The Mikve itself is more like a small pool (rather than a bath) of water (rain water) at least 1.2 meters deep (so that one can fully immerse). The place itself i.e; waiting room + pool + small shower-rooms with toilets (where each woman prepares herself for the sanctifying immersion) is also called a Mikve.

Summary
Shira, the new mikve attendant, is the centre of gossip at the local orthodox community mikve: She’s an outsider -not from the community and one of those ‘newly-religious’ (as opposed to those born into it). But she’s young, enthusiastic, desperately needs the job and luckily has the full backing (at first) of Shoshana, the senior attendant, who will not take part in any gossip.. She wants her Mikve ‘pure’ - and is grateful to have help once again.
Shira feels there are many more ‘impure’ things in this house of purification… and, almost without realizing, opens a Pandora box that exposes eight womens’ life stories and bring them all - including Shira - to an irreversible road… at the end of which - they just might save another woman from the same fate…


Characters
Shira: 35, is the new bath attendant at the local Mikve. She is not only younger than the average bath attendant but also an outsider; (she was not born in the religious community). She cannot take lies or hypocrisy and will always be the first to point out “the king is bare” – until it comes to her own home

Shoshana-Dvora: 60-70. Senior bath attendant. She’s been working in the local Mikve for over ten years and knows every religious family in the neighbourhood. She has a daughter who left the religious community and was formally ‘cut off’ (excommunicated). Despite her status and preaching – Shoshana secretly keeps in touch with her.

Chedva: 35- 40, a battered woman, married to one of the popular public activists of the religious community. Chedva knows she must not disclose her personal problems in public in order not to ruin her husbands name – and deep inside feels shame and guilt (after all – maybe she’s just not good enough for him?!).

Hindi-Rochel: 60+. Typical rich Belgium snob. Wears an expensive and fashionable wig to hide her age (looks not over 45). Although women after menopause are not obliged to immerse – Hindi comes to the mikve each month – for she fears if her husband realizes there will be no more children besides their one son – he may not love or touch her any more.

Tehila: 19, beautiful redhead full of spunk on the one hand and fear on the other. She’s always been a ‘misfit’ in the orthodox community although she hasn’t stop trying to do the right thing in the eyes of the Lord - and her mother …

Michal (or Miki): 38, a singer. Provocative and outspoken outwardly – but a very warm and loving person from within. She is secular but comes to the Mikve because her husband decided lachzor bitshuva = to become religeous, and will not touch her if she won’t purify herself in the Mikve. She loves her husband and is doing all she can to save her marriage and give her children a ‘normal’ home...

Estie: 35+, mother of six. Simple, hardworking, happy woman. Tactless; gullible and funny. Believes all she’s told and everything written and somehow manages to always get the wrong end of the stick!

Elisheva: 10-12, youngest daughter of Chedva cannot speak (suffers from elective mutism)


The “Beit-Lessin” Theatre –A Story of Success Among Israeli Theatres
Founded at the early 80’as a humble culture-club of the Histadrut – Israel’s Workers’ Union – the Beit-Lessin Theater today is the country’s 2nd largest repertory theater. Named after an almost forgotten Yiddish author, the theater is the most exhilarating success-story among Israeli theaters in the recent decade, with its yearly 10 new premieres, over 30,000 devoted subscribers in Tel-Aviv alone, and hundreds of performances throughout the country.

Miss Tsipi Pines, the theater’s general manager and artistic director, appeared en scene in 1994. Prior to that, she has been a successful manager of the Beer-Sheva municipal theater, and made her reputation as a gifted and imaginative director, as well. Her concentration on modern drama and recent hits from the leading theater capitals, New-York and London, has proved itself as highly beneficial. Under her regime, Beit-Lessin became the cradle of the new Israeli playwriting, a local variation to the renowned Royal Court, as many journalists labeled it.

Since the year 2000, Beit-Lessin is responsible for Israel’s annual festival of New Israeli Drama – “Curtain up!”. The festival’s 14 new productions every year have helped to discover the most attractive new voices among Israel’s young playwrights.

Who is Hadar Galron?
Hadar Galron, playwright, screenplay-writer, actress and comedian was born in London, 1970 to a Jewish orthodox family, and emigrated to Israel with her family at the age of 13. After her army-service and during her B.A. in theatre, (Tel-Aviv University ), Hadar began writing and performing professionally .
She first became known as part of a duo, in a comedy show she put on together with another religious actress. It was totally unheard of until then that religious women allow themselves to perform professionally on secular stages and caused much ado.
For the Sochnut Hadar wrote and performed a show focusing on the stereotypes of Israelis’ through the eyes of the tourist and visa versa .
Next came ‘PULSA’, a satirical comedy about womens’ status in the jewish law. The show, considered very daring of its kind, has been running for 5 years (over 500 performances).

MIKVE is Hadars’ first full-length drama. It is showing at Tel-Avivs’ Beit-Lessin Theatre. Mikve was an immediate success. The play won theatre prize for: “Production Of the Year 2004“ At the Israeli Theatre Accadamy Awards .This summer Mikve celebrated it’s 500th performance. It has been translated into English and Spanish and a Mexican theatre will be producing “mikve” next fall…
Hadar is currently writing a new play for Beit Lessin theatre.

Hadar wrote – together with renowned cinema director Avi Nesher – a screenplay for the film "The Secrets" - also dealing with women in an ultra-orthodox community although from a completely different aspect than Mikve.
The film – directed by Nesher - was released in June 2007 .
It is a great success in the cinema and became talk of the summer in cinema-terms…

Micah Lewensohn
He was born in Israel. A graduate of the Israeli Music Conservatory, he also played Jazz. During his army service he worked in the IDF Radio dealing with all aspects of radio work including army correspondent. After completing his studies at New York University – Film & Television (BA) and Theater Directing (MFA) – he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, serving as the Assistant General Director at the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Since his return to Israel in 1980, has directed more than 50 productions in most theaters in Israel. Has received numerous awards including Best Production of the Year 2004 for Hadar Galron's Mikve. He teaches acting and directing, has directed film commercials and hosted numerous TV and radio programmes. Served as Artistic Director of The Israel Festival 1994-2001.


Criticism “A different place “ \ Michael Handenzalz – Ha’aretz “This is not the first time Israeli theatre describes the world of the the orthodox jews, and not even the first time it shows the harsh world of the women living in that society. But as opposed to the other plays that are focused on the plot and gain a peek into this estranged world, this play focuses on a place … the Mikve…
…The play is very touching – also due to the meticulous director Micah Lewensohn, who sensitively navigates between the playwrites comic touch and the melodramatic moments …His guiding hand is visible on the eight actresses… each of whom creates a full world and all together they excell as an ensemble…”
“Feminism in the Mikve” \ Elyakim Yaron – Ma’ariv
„…The main dramatic line of the play is the conflict between Shoshana - the first mikve attendent – who runs the place with a steady hand , and Shira – the new and oppinionated mikve attendent who dares open her mouth, critisize and act against the societies codes. These two characters are wonderfully personified by two actresses (Miriam Gavrieli and Naama Shapira) whose extreme differences are the heart of the play…”
“Mikve”- a play that is just a must ! \ Odeta –
„…„Run run run to the Beit Lessin theatre, to the play “Mikve”. Written by the talented Hadar Galron and directed so well by Micah Lewensohn. It is a play that you can’t allow yourself to miss. It touches our deepest pores, and – miraculously does so with much comic relief… A theatrical pearl!...”




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