DISGUST


Created by Ruth Kanner

Creative partners and actors:
Shirley Gal-Segev, Dafna Aarcavi, Adi Meirovitch, Tali Kark, Sara Siboni
Music creator and viola player: Nori Jacoby
Guest artists: Ronen Babluki, Clair Baileys
Stage design: Sivan Weinstein
Lighting design: Shaked Vax
Sound: Dudi Bell


A documentary theatrical search into the anatomy of the personal and social concept of 'disgust', as expressed by monologues of passersby interviewed on a street.

About "Disgust" >>

Ruth Kanner, "Disgust" (From Wanderers: And Other Israeli Plays)
by Sharon Aronson-Lehavi

"Disgust", Ruth Kanner's performance piece, is a play based on "street language" that originated in interviews that she and her performers conducted, and in which they asked people what disgusts them. This simple (and comic) question turns into a method for searching the individual and collective soul. Asking people to articulate what disgusts them, to put into words feelings and images that anybody usually prefers to suppress creates a performative act of confronting these very concepts. The text of this unique documentary is composed of the variety of the answers they received, and what begins as a list of random yet expected answers (dirt, mice, and cockroaches), gradually develops and intensifies into a disturbing image of a society that is disgusted by anything that is other from the norm: foreigners, gay people, Arab people, and more. In the course of the play each of the interviewees becomes a character. These characters are at first represented merely by their instant replies to the provocative question, but as the play develops each of them reconnects to a life story and to personal traumas that are at the root of their concept of what is disgusting. The play is structured as a fragmented
ongoing interview, meant for five actors to play about fifteen characters, which they do by changing again and again the clothes of the characters, jumping in and out of character and identities.
One of the strongest moments in the performance occurs as an actor crosses the stage carrying a TV-set on which a scene from a reality-show is screened. In this show, "Running for an Apartment", couples had to compete in extreme missions in order to win an apartment, the epitome of the Israeli bourgeois dream. The actor himself, Ronen Babluki, competed in this show with his boyfriend, and they won the apartment. The fact that a gay couple won such a mainstream competition was considered surprising and subversive. In the scene that is screened, the actor's partner is locked in a cage with mice, insects, and pieces of raw meat, while the performer himself had to dig in with his mouth in order to find the key and release his locked partner. Eventually he did it but this event became a traumatic inscription of disgust for the couple as for the viewers of the TV show. By performing
this scene as part of "Disgust" Kanner brilliantly brings together an image
of a televised, petit-bourgeois, and homophobic society with a literal depiction of disgusting images. This moment leads to scenes that explicitly deal with homophobia, xenophobia, and self-disgust. Although this play and performance are grounded in the Israeli context and reality, it can
definitely translate easily because of its universal appeal and comic/ironic undertone. This performance piece deals in an Artaudian manner with society's need to expose and purge from its disgusting elements.