The prelude to
the European festival of Jewish culture in Prague, which this year
takes place for the first time ever, whets the appetite for even
more dazzling offerings.
With acting and musical artistry likened to pyrotechnics, the
Israeli national theater "haBimah" captured the Prague public with
its rendition of Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle".
Mentioned in the Book of Kings, Brecht relocated the ancient story
from the Judean hills to the harsh Caucusus. The performance by
haBimah's yet again transports it into a new dimension.
The director, Ilan Ronen, correctly grasps that Brecht's theatrical
works are replete with feeling, yes even sentimentality. The
fundamental conept is based on a kind of popular theater full of
rawness and noise. A feast rich in color that is accurate and
convincing. Trained in a diversity of theatrical techniques the
troupe's twenty young actors incarnate over one hundred roles. They
act with mind and spirit: their zeal is the key to this successful
performance. The Aliev family from Bukhara musically accompanies the
troupe with a veritable pyrotechnical display of music, song and
Brecht, too, would have loved this kind of popular theater with its
tension between feeling and alienation (Verfremdung) complemented by
excellent music and choreographic elements.
The Prague public hailed the troupe with bravos, jubilation,
and constant applause, which fostered repeated encoree calls backed
by the Aliev family's Caucasian-Levantine drumming.
The opening day was dedicated to Yitzhak Rabin - with a theatrical
performance full of symbolism. Two mothers wrangle over a child, the
true mother out of love lets go of the child in order not to hurt
it. We heartily recommend the play to Israeli and Palestinean