A Standing Room Only audience took in the 1 pm reading of Motti Lerner’s play and post-reading panel discussion on Friday, November 1. It was a Who’s Who of Israeli Theater Bigs in attendance, veterans of the Israeli theater establishment and the young garde too, taking in the newly edited, super taut, 88 minute one-act version of the work. Last time the play was read publicly at The Lark Theatre’s HotInk Festival back in April in New York (with generous support from The Israel Consulate who supported Motti Lerner’s residency and the staged reading as well), the play was a two-act, two-hour affair. Here’s where the benefits of all the constructive post-reading comments and professional notes and Motti’s commitment to making his play a more refined piece of writing come into play. The summer workshop following The Lark’s was the Cameri Theatre’s intensive at the end of July which brought the play further into shape, and new rewrites based on notes from the Cameri artistic staff led to the revision we heard on Friday. With the Cameri senior artistic staff in the person of artistic director Omri Nitzan and his wife in the crowd for both the reading and the spirited discussion, the gathering featured a healthy cohort from the States as well, including Theater J Council members and members of the Roth family (siblings on sabbatical!). And the play was presented by the same cast that read the work at The Cameri under the direction of Sinai Peter. We’re poised to receive big news and some exciting announcements about next steps on this project, both in the States and in Israel, but nothing to share just yet.
We’ve got video from the panel discussion to translate and edit — that’ll be easier to do back in the States when not working 10 hours a day on refining the translation. We’re almost done. It’s exciting and powerful — the live dynamic in any productive collaboration. And it’s most gratifying to know that this play plays so very well; that it’s so extraordinarily well-argued–that it was deeply appreciated by the audience–and that the complex relationships in both the Israeli and Palestinian families provide the compelling front text for a work that’s much more about the present than the past, and is completely unrecognizable from the gross mischaracterization of it offered by those critics from Copma who read this blog so devotedly and cherry-pick from it so mercilessly but have yet to read a full copy of The Admission beyond scene 4 (that’s as much as has been published on line — note, that the full play is 14 scenes long).
We’ll share more from Jaffa shortly. For now, here’s a pic or two to share (trouble uploading the rest – we’ll post more when there’s more bandwidth!) — and know that we’re energized by the acceptance of the play as play in Israel and pleased for our role in helping to usher it forward.