Gesher Theater to Take Us Back to Pre-state Israel

The Russian-Israeli theater company is bringing back Yehoshua Sobol's story of a young boy in British Mandate Palestine.

In honor of the 65th anniversary of the State of Israel, the Gesher Theater will stage a new production of Yehoshua Sobol's "Village," a beloved Israeli production set in pre-state Israel.

"Village" was first performed by Gesher, a Russian-Israeli theater company that strives, as its name implies, to serve as a bridge between the two communities. That production was beloved by audiences and critics alike, raking in five theater awards in 1997.

It tells the story of Yossi, a boy living in a village in British Mandate Palestine in the 1940s. Yossi witnesses the anxieties and the fears, along with the hopes and dreams, of the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community, against the backdrop of the Second World War, the danger of a German invasion of the country, the European Holocaust, the declaration of the state and the War of Independence. The first performance will take place on March 30.

The first performance of this new production will be March 30. The show ill be directed by Yevgeny Arye, who also directed 1996 production. Some of the same actors will also return for this encore, including Sasha Demidov, Leonid Kanevsky, Natasha Manor, Lillian Roth, Alexander Sandrovich and Adi Etzion-Zak. They will be joined by Henry David, Alon Friedman and Miki Leon, who will be participating in the play for the first time.

"The play 'Village' was a milestone in the history of the Gesher Theater and the history of Israeli theater," said Gesher general director Lena Kriendlin. "At its first staging in 1996 it got unprecedented reactions, and thanks to these reactions the Gesher Theater became a major player in the Israeli theater scene. In honor of the 65th anniversary of the State of Israel, we decided to present it with a modest gift by once again performing the play that tells the story of the land of Israel prior to statehood."

Sean Hudson