A Play about War
Based on a novel by S. Yizhar
Directed by Ruth Kanner
Music: Ori Drumer
Stage design: Puncho Edelberg
Costume design: Hagit Vitman
Lighting Design: Shaked Vax
Musical instruments: Yuval Kedem
Actors: Ronen Babluki, Shirley Gal, Tali Kark, Lior Raz, Yussef Sweid, Doron Ronen
Premiere: Akko Festival 2001
Winner of the first prize, Akko Festival of Israeli Experimental Theater, 2001
The earth-shattering event of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, re-evoked through S. Yizhar’s extraordinary text, penetrates the surface down to the bare scream, to the very depths of horror, raising moral issues that seep through.
The stage production presents a disintegrated reality, a reality made of fragments that have lost their normal contexts. It attempts to dismantle, and then reexamine, the particles constituting war: words, images, violent impulses, fear and its concealment, running, souls departing from the battlefield, the search of consolation. The investigation of events involves an investigation of the modes of representation of the local narrative of war and tales from the battlefield, to create a text that reaches past the surface to the naked scream beneath, to the depths of horror, to that place of intimacy between man and his own vulnerability, to the very thin line that separates life from death.
About the music:
Live music is performed with unconventional instruments which have been specially made for the production. String, wind and percussive instruments are played by currents of hot air heated by fire. The sound establishes order, determines fates, envelopes the show and carries it to hidden, non-verbal places. This is a mixture of sounds which becomes an inseparable part of the artist’s body.
Reasons given by the Akko Festival panel of judges for awarding this production the first prize:
S. Yizhar’s deep, complex prose is transformed in the hands of director Ruth Kanner into fascinating theater with its own unique, inspired theatrical language. Brilliant, meticulous and sensitive direction, devoted and concerned work of the actors, stage design, lighting and music all join together to make up a whole that imparts a penetrating, rending message.
“This performance affected me like a stroke of lightening. An original, highly imaginative theatrical orchestration.The show shouts where words end, because Yizhar’s astounding, hypnotizing language sheds meaning and becomes mute in the face of the monstrous pointlessness of war. This is a tremendous undermining of the myth of war. A perfect team work.” / Elyakim Yaron, Ma’ariv
“The text, in astonishing Yizharic Hebrew, describes the despair and chaos of the Yom Kippur War. This is a wonderfully effective event. The power and uniqueness of Discovering Elijah is such, that it puts one off viewing anything else after it.” / Michael Handelsaltz, Ha’aretz
“A highly imaginative, hair-raising performance, that turns into a hallucinatory, heart-rending voyage into the past. A slippery truth lurks among the dead bodies and the still-living people in the battlefield. An agonizing, fascinating, and, regretfully, highly relevant performance.” / Shai Bar Ya’akov, Yediot Aharonont
“This is a stirring theatrical experience, which attempts to dismantle and reassemble the war experience, the fear, stupidity, violence, horror, glory and death. Apparently the nightmare of 1973, in truth it is an apocalypse which takes place now, at this very moment, in front of our eyes… What happens here is that one-time miracle, which cannot be described in words; one cannot help but fall under its spell. Rumor has it that even S. Yizhar himself, who sat in the audience with that legendary Elijah by his side, was sobbing…This is an extraordinary work in the full and deepest sense of the word.” / Eitan Bar Yossef, Ha’ir
“The text based on Yizhar is very communicative, and the memories of the Yom Kippur War left some of the audience gasping and red-eyed. The group works very well as an ensemble, with excellent music, props which form a rich theatrical language. It may seem strange to say about a performance with such a powerful emotional impact that it is “a pleasure”, but that is what it is. Wait and see.” / Shosh Avigal, IOL