Love is in the air at the Cameri Theatre – with all the excitement of new beginnings, and the inevitable bittersweet farewells as Shmulik Ifrach held his first official press conference as the Cameri Theatre’s new General Director, together with Noam Semel and Artistic Director Omri Nitzan. Noam Semel commented on the end of his tenure as General Director of the Cameri Theatre, saying that although he has never experienced divorce, this parting is as close as he can imagine to the feeling of a “divorce.” It is an apt comparison, as this marks a farewell to a very intense working relationship with the Cameri Theatre and Artistic Director Omri Nitzan that spans over a quarter of a century, a ‘marriage’ that produced many successful ‘offspring’ and with all the drama, comedy, song, and dance that any good relationship entails. Among the many memories Semel will treasure, he particularly noted the privilege of working with several “giants of the theatre” who are no longer with us: playwrights Nissim Aloni, Hanoch Levin, Anat Gov, director Michah Loewensohn whose recent untimely death is sorely felt, and actors such as Orna Porat, Hannah Maron, Edna Fleidel, Zaharira Harifai, Avner Hezkiyahu, Rosina Cambos. Yossi Graber.
Shmulik Ifrach comes to the Cameri after a hugely successful tenure as CEO of the Beer Sheva Theatre, and the Goodman Theatre and Acting School of the Negev. In the spirit of new beginnings, romance, and nostalgia, it is apt that the first presentation he presided over is for Just Love, a new musical by Shlomo Moskowitz, directed by Dedi Baron, with the songs of Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Josie Katz, Shmulik Kraus, Gesher Hayarkon Trio, The High Windows and the Nahal Troupe. As Ifrach said, it is the “Israeli soundtrack.” The songs reflect an Israeli culture of the past, with rock influences marking new era in which Israeli culture became less insular and more open to the world. Yet the Hebrew language and Israeli experience are integral to these songs, they are an essential part of Israeli culture and the collective memory.
The musical takes place in those crucial years, between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, years, as playwright Moskovitz described, of “change and breakdown” in Israeli society. Moskowitz described the era as a time when culture flourished and bloomed, with rock music symbolizing freedom and hope for the future, yet at the same time, this was an era that saw the rise of the military’s influence, a time when Zionism began to lose its moral integrity.
The plot revolves around a love story: Akiva, the boy from the ‘bohemian’ side of Tel Aviv, dedicated to rock music and smoking on the roof with his friends Asi and Meir, falls for the lovely Rachel, the cherished daughter of very proper parents from the affluent suburb of Savyon. The musical stars Oz Zehavi, Eliana Tidhar, Avi Termin, Idit Tepperson, David Shaul, Roni Sheindorf, Itamar Zohar and Dar Rosenbaum, and will premiere on May 10, 2017.
The full schedule and additional information may be found on the Cameri Theatre website.