There are so many things I like about Men! The Khan Theatre production, written by Amir Dulitsky and Zeev Klatti, and directed by Zeev Klatti, is vibrant, clever, entertaining, moving, thought-provoking and perhaps one of the most feminist original Israeli plays I’ve seen. Feminist? Yes. The blunt title declaring men as the subject of this play, acknowledges that within the human narrative are enfolded many individual and group narratives, and this play intends to focus only on one – men. Dulitsky and Klatti are well aware that there is a another story that might be told, from a different perspective with different dialogue; it’s a welcome respite from works based on the underlying assumption that the human narrative is a narrative of men.
Now that we know what we’re talking about – men – let’s dig in! Men works in every way, from the dynamic staging and dead-accurate dialogues to outstanding performances from an excellent cast, tantalizing aesthetics and a wonderful soundtrack. Men reflects impeccable artistry and attention to detail in all its aspects – bravo to everyone involved in this brilliant production! It’s a play that can be enjoyed on many levels. Funny, smart and pleasing to the eye and ear, it makes a great evening’s entertainment. Yet the allusive symbolism in the color scheme and issues explicitly raised generate layers of emotions, thoughts and associations, making this a play whose words and images linger in the mind long after the last bow.
A terrific cast of actors from the Khan Ensemble – Vitali Friedland, Ariel Wolf, Nili Rogel, Arie Tcherner, Yonatan Miller, and Roy Miller – were simply amazing in last night’s performance. The play requires each actor to portray several different roles, enabling these performers to express a colorful spectrum of moods, perspectives and personalities. I especially enjoyed the physicality of the staging, as the actors fully embody the choreography of the character and the moment. At times, the scenes without words were the most eloquent.
Looking at “men” through a single character portrayed by different actors, the play establishes a symbolic, allegorical tone from the first image: an almost entirely white set, consisting of four panels and a dark red apple perched on a white pedestal. It’s a story conveyed in images, with five scenes, each representing a different chapter: the boy, the soldier, the bachelor, the father and the man. Love, friendship, rivalry, dreams, fears, desire and death dance through the passing moments of one man’s life.
Men by Amir Dulitsky and Zeev Klatti; directed by Zeev Klatti
Set design: Frida Shoham; Costumes: Diti Ofek-Tsarfati; Musical editing: Uri Bankhalter and Zeev Klatti; Lighting: Yair Vardi; Cast (in order of appearance): Vitali Friedland, Ariel Wolf, Nili Rogel, Arie Tcherner, Yonatan Miller, Roy Miller.
Khan Theatre, 2 David Remez Square, Jerusalem, 02-6718281