A walk through time and mu­sic

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - www.jew­ish­book­week.com

ARTS JOUR­NAL­IST James In­verne was in­ter­view­ing his friend, Is­raeli man­dolin­ist Avi Avi­tal for the Jewish Chron­i­cle, when the mu­si­cian stopped mid-flow. He’d thought of a story he knew In­verne would love.

The story con­cerned the vi­o­lin­ist Ye­hudi Menuhin and mu­si­cian and kib­butznik Ye­huda Shar­rett, brother of the for­mer Is­raeli prime min­is­ter Moshe Shar­rett, one of the tri­umvi­rate of the state’s found­ing fa­thers along with Ben-Gu­rion and Weiz­mann, “the one who al­ways gets for­got­ten”, ac­cord­ing to In­verne.

Avi­tal’s story was that, af­ter a con­cert by Menuhin in Pales­tine in 1925, he and Ye­huda Shar­rett walked and walked all night long, Shar­rett ar­riv­ing back at his kib­butz in a taxi and bare­foot, the next morn­ing.

In­verne was in­deed in­spired by this story, and an­nounced on Face­book that he was go­ing to “write a play in a night.” He wrote fu­ri­ously for hours, then fell asleep. The next day he “woke up in a pile of drool,” and checked the story with a kib­butz historian. He dis- cov­ered that the vi­o­lin­ist was not Menuhin, but the equally distin­guished Jascha Heifetz. In­verne’s “play in a night” needed a com­plete re­think. Un­sur­pris­ingly, he put it aside. Two years later, he and his Is­raeli wife Ca­reen de­cided to live for part of the year in Is­rael. They ar­rived at their tem­po­rary home, and he looked out at the view and “some­how breathed in Is­rael”. At that mo­ment, he knew he had to re­turn to the story.

In­verne, for­mer ed­i­tor of Gramo­phone mag­a­zine, was fas­ci­nated by the pos­si­bil­i­ties of fram­ing the his­tory of the found­ing of the state of Is­rael in two con­ver­sa­tions be­tween Heifetz and the Shar­rett broth­ers. “At the heart is this ques­tion: how do we re­late to each other? How do we con­nect?”

The play, which will have a re­hearsed read­ing at Jewish Book Week on Satur­day evening, was writ­ten af­ter re­search in­clud­ing meet­ings with descen­dants of the Shar­rett broth­ers. In­verne learned more about their up­bring­ing in an Arab vil­lage where they learned Ara­bic and Ko­ran. “Had Moshe Shar­rett been able to serve longer, there is ev­ery chance that Is­rael could have built dif­fer­ent kinds of re­la­tion­ships. It gives me hope for now. The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Jews and Arabs are still there, when you are not talk­ing about peo­ple with rad­i­cal views.”

In­verne, who grew up in Bournemouth’s fa­mous kosher ho­tel, the Cum­ber­land which was run by his fa­ther, has built his ca­reer in the arts — as a jour­nal­ist, and also as a con­sul­tant who works with artists and arts or­gan­i­sa­tions. Even with his many in­flu­en­tial friends, the re­sponse to the play has been out­stand­ingly pos­i­tive. From Philip Him­berg, di­rec­tor of the the­atre pro­gramme at the Sun­dance Fes­ti­val, the Is­raeli ac­tor Yu­val Boim,

J K Rowl­ing’s agent, Neil Blair, the di­rec­tor Ben­jamin Kamine, the play has at­tracted much tal­ented sup­port. The lat­est to get in­volved are ac­tors Henry Good­man and Ed Stop­pard who are tak­ing part in the JBW read­ing along­side Yu­val Boim.

An ear­lier read­ing in New York so moved the artist Adam Maeroff, that he went home and painted The Ex­pres­sion­ist, in­spired by play and per­form­ers . What next for

A Walk with Mr Heifetz? In­verne hopes for a New York pro­duc­tion, and then other coun­tries, in­clud­ing, of course, Is­rael. “It is the most ful­fill­ing cre­ative ex­pe­ri­ence of my life.”

Adam Maeroff’s paint­ing, in­spired by In­verne’s play.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.