Open Stage 2011, Beit Lessin’s festival of Israeli plays, will take place on two consecutive weekends, September 15 – 17, 2011 and 22 – 24, 2011 at ZOA House in Tel Aviv. Created to encourage the writing of new plays by Israeli playwrights the festival, now in its 12th year, reflects the changing scene of Israeli theatre. There is an abundant crop of original Israeli plays each year in the theatres – both mainstream and fringe, and while Open Stage continues to provide a platform for new works and writers, the festival is opening up to explore new terrain.
New this year is Open Stage for Children, with three musicals written for children that will be presented in a staged reading. Beit Lessin’s creative collaboration with the Heidelberg Theatre continues this year with the presentation of three international co-productions. Torge Kübler’s The Peace Syndrome looks at the experiences of German peace activists volunteering in the Middle East. Maya Scheye’s Medicament delves into history and science, while Kristo Sagor’s My Father looks at the complex tangle of relationships between fathers, sons, lovers, Germans and Israelis. The Peace Syndrome and Medicament will be full productions, and My Father will be presented in a staged reading.
Eight new plays will be presented in staged readings. As in the past, audiences will have the opportunity to cast their votes for “Audience Favorite.” Two plays will be performed as full productions. A political candidate’s integrity is put to the test in Andrea Boav’s Shtika Roemet. Oren Yakoby’s Glass Wall follows a young Israeli dancer living Berlin, forced by circumstances to re-examine her life and her connection to family and history. The staged readings will be performed in collaboration with the students of the Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts, in celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary.
Opening a window to the inner workings of Israeli theatre are two special programs. Actor Leor Ashkenazi will host a program with a game show format, enabling audience members to direct questions to prominent theatre directors. Participants include: Beit Lessin Director Zipi Pines, Cameri General Director Noam Semel, Gesher Theatre Director Lena Kreindlin, Haifa Theatre Artistic Director Moshe Naor, Beer Sheva Theatre Director Shmulik Ifrach, Natan Datner and others.
Actors and directors will pair up for a look at the special relationship between actor and director. The participants will include: actress Yona Elian with playwright Hillel Mittelpunkt, actor/director Moni Moshonov with playwright Joshua Sobol, actress Maya Dagan with playwright Savion Liebrecht, playwright Hana Azoulay-Hasfari with actor Amnon Levy and actress Limor Goldstein with playwright Edna Mazya.
Audience-friendly ticket prices range from 20NIS – 80NIS.
Grants for further development will be awarded to outstanding plays selected from the eight staged readings. These grants are funded by the Joshua Rabinovich Foundation. There will also be a prize awarded to the audience favorite. Open Stage is made possible through the support of the Joshua Rabinovich Foundation, the Marc Rich Foundation, Friends of Beit Lessin, Tel Aviv Municipality and the Ministry of Culture. Family Ties is supported by the German government, the Baden-Wirtemberg Regional Government, the Municipality of Heidelberg, the Goethe Institute, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Kashtum and private donors. Open Stage is produced by the Beit Lessin Theatre. Festival Artistic Director: Avishai Milstein. Beit Lessin Director: Zipi Pines.