The other Is­raeli dra­mas de­fy­ing the boy­cotters

John­nathan an­tic­i­pates an af­ter­noon of chal­leng­ing new writ­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts&entertainment -

THE PRES­ENCE of Is­rael’s Habima Theatre in London next month for the Globe Theat r e’ s in­ter­na­tional Shake­speare fes­ti­val has prompted wellpub­li­cised calls for a boy­cott. Less at­ten­tion has been di­rected at an­other Is­raeli theatre event, tak­ing place in London this week­end. The Tik-sho-ret com­pany founded in 2005 by London-based Is­raeli Ariella Es­hed, will be stag­ing 5 Plays, A World of Sto­ries — re­hearsed read­ings of a quin­tet of new works by emerg­ing Is­raeli writ­ers. The works range from the ab­sur­dist and the nat­u­ral­is­tic to the down­right strange. And, re­fresh­ingly, they are not all about the Is­raeli-pales­tinian con­flict.

“I have tried to re­flect dif­fer­ent sub­jects and styles of Is­raeli writ­ing,” says Es­hed. “This is the first time we have brought writ­ers to London. In­stead of a re­hearsed read­ing of one play, which is what we have done in the past, we are tak­ing scenes from all five plays and pre­sent­ing them as one show. Bri­tish di­rec­tors and ac­tors will be able to ex­change views with Is­raeli writ­ers.”

Pro­mot­ing Is­raeli work in a coun­try where all things Is­raeli seem to at­tract op­po­si­tion must be one of the hard­est jobs in cul­ture. “It’s not easy,” ad­mits Es­hed. “If you send an Is­raeli play to a theatre and they don’t ac­cept it, you can’t say, ‘is it be­cause it’s Is­raeli?’, no mat­ter what you might sus­pect.”

She would rather not be drawn on the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Habima, ex­cept to say that by boy­cotting Is­raeli artists, pro­test­ers are at­tempt­ing to si­lence the very voices with whom they may agree. “My per­sonal take is that artists in Is­rael are the ones most likely to crit­i­cise gov­ern­ment pol­icy. By try­ing to stop them com­ing over, the pro­test­ers are serv­ing the wrong pur­pose,” she says. ‘5 Plays, A World of Sto­ries’ is on Sun­day at 1pm, at the Tris­tan Bates Theatre, London, WC2. Book­ing: 020 7240 6283/www.tris­tan­bat­esthe­atre.co.uk

PHOTO: GER­ARD ALLON

The Promised Land, pre­sented in London

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