Theatronetto 2016: Refugees

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In every generation one must see herself as if she left Egypt. As one reads these words in the Passover Haggadah each year, I think that even those of us who feel an urgent need to speed read through the text, must somehow pause, even if only for a fraction of a second, and in that moment feel the meaning of those words. Because that’s the moment that insists: this is personal. We are charged with the task of placing ourselves within this story, remembering that we too once were slaves, that we were strangers in a strange land, that we wandered through the desert, and that we are still walking towards freedom.

Theatronetto 2016 - Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016 – Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

This year, the Kibbutz College continues their tradition of presenting an artistic “Hyde Park” as part of the Theatronetto festival. This year’s theme is “Refugees,” with the students creating installations and performance art, interpreting the Hebrew word palit in a way that goes beyond the immediate, to seek out and reflect on the different ways in which society rejects and expels those who are deemed different, turning people into refugees from society, culture, their homes, and even their own bodies.

Theatronetto 2016 - Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016 – Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

Each installation and performance is an independent unit, and visitors can wander about the courtyard of the Jaffa Theatre to observe, and even participate in some of the works. However, the event as a whole is presented as a performance, and I would recommend trying to see it from the beginning.

In every generation one must see himself as if he left Egypt – the event begins with this exhortation, as the entire ensemble enters the courtyard as one tribe. Then they scatter, each assembling their installation. At the end of the performances, there is another group event, very striking and effective, yet people suffering from PTSD or other anxieties, might find it difficult to experience.

Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

The individual themes explored are many and varied: Chekov as a refugee from the current cultural war in Israel waged by Miri Regev; Israel as a country that expels its people because it has forgotten the meaning of its existence; refugees from society’s definition of gender, body image, and sexual orientation; refugees fleeing homes that are violent; refugees from justice, whose testimony of rape and sexual harassment is not believed; the refugees who try to come to Israel seeking asylum; who do we reject from our Seder table, making them refugees; social media shaming; the way we often seek refuge from the problems of the world in escapism; and those like Mother Courage and her children, who are at once profiting and suffering.

Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel
Theatronetto 2016: Kibbutz College/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

Refugees will take place: Tuesday, April 26th and Wednesday, April 27th at approximately 19:00 and 21:00 each evening. Admission is free.

More photos on the Midnight East facebook page.