Celebrating its 30th edition, Theatronetto looks forward to a festival with an exciting program of one-person plays in competition, spanning diverse themes in a range of styles, with performances in the Old City of Akko and the Old City of Jaffa. Founded by Yaakov Agmon, the festival has featured prominent actors and directors, as well as bringing many emerging actors into the spotlight, over the course of its illustrious past. This year’s festival marks a somber landmark, as it will be the first without Yaakov Agmon, who died in December 2020. Taking the helm for the first time is his wife, renowned actor Gila Almagor-Agmon, who said she will be carrying on the Theatronetto tradition “in his spirit.” Yaakov Agmon will be warmly remembered by all who love the Theatronetto festival, and his dynamic presence will be greatly missed. In his memory, a photo exhibition by Gerard Alon will be displayed in the theatre’s foyer throughout the festival, with images that document Agmon’s work and life in the theatre from 1998 onwards.
The festival will take place from March 29 – 31 in the Old City of Akko, and from March 30 – April 1, 2020 in the Old City of Jaffa. Out of 70 plays submited, 7 were selected to participate in this year’s competition. The festival’s artistic committee members are: Gila Almagor-Agmon, Daniela Michaeli, Shimon Mimran and Yigal Ezrati. Galit Barsky is the festival’s producer. This year, in addition to the prize for Best Performance, a new prize will be awarded: Audience Favorite, in memory of Tarin Shalfy. Tarin Shalfy z”l won the prize for Best Performance in 2019 for her performance in LeHaziz Et HaShamesh, a play she wrote about her own experiences in her struggle with cancer. Tarin’s family has donated the prize in her memory.
One of my favorite Theatronetto traditions is the outdoor performance that takes place each night of the festival, in the courtyard of the Jaffa Theatre. This year, the event will be dedicated to Yaakov Agmon, with a special tribute performance: a medley of hit songs from musicals that Agmon produced throughout his prolific career. The show will be performed by students in the musical theatre program at the Rimon School of Music, under the artistic guidance of Ohad Hitman and Daniela Michaeli, and will feature songs from: Bustan Sepharadi (Sephardic Orchard), Ish Hassid Haya (Once There was a Hassid), and Mary Lou, as well as songs from musical evenings initiated by Agmon, featuring songs of Naomi Shemer, Georges Bressons, Jacques Brel and Chava Alberstein. Performances will take place on March 30th and 31st, at 19:15 and 21:15 in the Jaffa Theatre courtyard, and will be free and open to the public. Tickets for the festival plays are 80 NIS and may be ordered online from www.eventim.co.il/neto, or call: 03-5111777, or *9066.
Theatronetto Plays in Competition 2021:
Based on the book by Ishay Sarid; adapted and performed by Ben Yosipovich; directed by Ariel Wolf.
A guide for youth trips to Poland is called to a hearing before the Director of Yad Vashem. There the guide talks about the difficulty of dealing with “Mifletzet Hazikaron” (the monster of memory), the way that this has taken over his life, and the moral dilemmas with which he struggles.
Written, directed and performed by Michal Svironi, co-creator: Yoni Tal
Michal Svironi invites the audience to her studio for a performance that merges the visual/plastic arts with theatre. Characters come to life in colors and voice, each with her or his own story, creating a multi-generational collage, and raising questions: can one begin a new, blank page? Start over?
Written by Neil LaBute, directed and performed by Itcho Avital, translated by Dr. Eitan Bloom
The play finds Edward Carr at the funeral parlor, talking about the love of his life, his wife who died of cancer. Yet this couple also shared a dark secret…
Written and performed by Neta Yashchin, directed and dramaturgy by Osnat Zibil
The play focuses on the large immigration from the Soviet Union to Israel in the 1970s, as told from the perspective of Genya, a married mother of three children. The year is 1984, and Genya’s daughter Fanny, has already become a true Israeli – loud and rebellious. The play merges Hebrew and Russian, and reflects the cultural differences and the hardships endured by immigrants, then and now. The play is based on the personal experiences of Neta Yaschin, who immigrated to Israel from Lithuania with her parents in 1975, when she was 8 years old.
Inspired by Aruhat Boker Israelit by Nitzan Weissman, written by Lior Galaziano, directed by Yehonadav Perlman, performed by Ron Richter
A chance encounter at the supermarket with someone from his past leads Idan to relive a series of memories: from the violent bully he knew as a child, to his confrontations with a tough commander during basic training. The personal stories reveal the different ways Idan’s manhood has been tested, up until the moment when he learns what it really means to be a man.
Kacha Lo Olim Al Bama
Written and performed by Maayan Kilchevsky, directed by Itay Plaut
“Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done. It’s cerebral palsy. She will walk until she no longer is able and then – a wheelchair.”
That is the prophecy with which the protagonist’s story begins, a story she describes as a story of war. Confronting herself, her surroundings, the men in her life, and a dream – to stand on her own two feet, onstage, as an actor.
Written, directed and performed by Dori Engel
This is the story of the king of theatre, the most well-known, of whom so little is known, but this time – in his own words. For the past several years, Dori Engel’s work in theatre has been in dialog with Shakespeare’s plays. In this monodrama he focuses on the man behind the texts, relying on research into Shakespeare’s biography. Selections from Shakespeare’s plays quoted in the performance are all new translations by Engel.
Theatronetto is produced by the Jaffa Theatre, and supported by the Culture Authority – Ministry of Culture and Sport, Tel Aviv Municipality, the Old Jaffa Development Company, Akko Municipality, Akko Theatre Center, the Old Akko Development Company, Sano and Migdal.
*Information on the plays has been provided by the festival, which I have either translated from Hebrew, or summarized.