Pinter: Ashes to Ashes


Rebecca: “…as the siren faded away in my ears I knew it was becoming louder and louder for somebody else.”

Keren Mor and Menashe Noy sat across from one another in a crowded office, scripts on the desk between them, preparing to read Harold Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes. Director Prof. Shimon Levy and dramaturg Dr. Yael Zarhy-Levo looked on. Noy rolled a cigarette, Levy also lit up and Mor began to speak in a quiet, almost matter of fact voice.


Mor’s subdued demeanor and fragile appearance give her performance a transparence, like water, at once revealing and hiding its depth. Noy’s persistent questioning in its strong assertion and righteous anger provides the perfect foil as they enter the labyrinth of time, memory and relationship designed by Pinter.

The staged reading of the play, which is to be performed at the Cameri Theatre, Friday June 5, at 12:00, is an expression of Levy’s forty years of involvement with Pinter’s work. Although he translated the play five years ago, it was never produced. “Pinter died (December 26, 2008),” Levy explains, “and Operation Cast Lead ran amok, firing brimstone and treacle – the treacle is the PR – that was my catalyst.” His ongoing dialogue with Pinter scholar Dr. Yael Zarhy-Levo, led to her suggestion to approach Mor and Noy, who were looking for interesting materials to work with. “Working with them has been an exceptional experience, they are intelligent, deep, and work wonderfully together,” said Levy, adding, “What we had here, [referring to the intimate rehearsal the photographer and I had been privileged to attend] is amazing – the attentiveness to one another, timing, nuance.”

Ostensibly a conversation between a couple about their relationship and her past involvement with another man, the play, first produced in 1996 with Pinter directing, covers the treacherous terrain of memory, time and the capacity to experience another person’s feelings. Saying that “the essence of the play is our ability to experience deeply the pain of others”, Levy calls it “a lesson in ethics in artistic form.” Poet, playwright, actor, director, and political activist, Pinter received the Nobel Prize in 2005. Held in great esteem for his many talents, his outspoken public stance against nuclear arms, oppressive governments and torture drew considerable criticism in his later years.

Levy feels that theater today confronts a challenge to “search for other strategies to reach the Israeli audience. Mainstream theatre is often slick, sweet melodrama: uninvolved and uncommitted. Fringe theatre tends to be over-explicit, poster-like, simplistic and geared to already convinced audiences. We’re between Scylla and Charybdis.” The reading will be followed by a discussion of these issues and the ability to identify in life, and through theatre with the pain of others.

Don’t be mislead by the title “staged reading” – Mor and Noy give an emotionally intense performance that is not to be missed.

Friday June 5 at 12:00
Duration: 40 minutes
Cameri Café Theatre
Tickets: 20 NIS



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