Rank and File

AGELESS MADWOMAN: “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” a play by Jean Giraudoux, will be performed in Ashkelon on June 6 and June 10 by a new drama group called the Anglo Ashkelon Players. This is the first time the play will be performed in Israel in English. “The play is a satirical comedy, very funny, but has layers of meaning since it was written during the German occupation of Paris,” Jane Davidson, the director, told Haaretz yesterday. “It applies today when we talk about the tycoons and the differences between the rich and the poor, so it’s really ageless,” added Davidson, a Baltimore native who has lived in Ashkelon with her family since 1971.

Several of the dozen actors from this budding company, which was launched in September, will play multiple parts. The principal actors are Michelle Cohen ‏(from Montreal but born in Israel‏) as the countess, Yisrael Levitt ‏(Manchester‏) as the prospector, Bernie Goodman ‏(London‏) as the wealthy president of a corporation, and Avigile Gottlieb ‏(New York‏) as Madame Josephine. The troupe evolved out of a play-reading group that Davidson organized shortly after the English Speakers of Ashkelon was founded four years ago. For more info, call Rhoda Goodman at (054) 650-2408.

LIFE IS A KIBBUTZ PICNIC: Graduates of Hashomer Hatzair North America will celebrate 100 years of the world movement next Saturday at Kibbutz Shomrat. Efrat Levy, the chair of Hashomer Hatzair North America, is scheduled to fly in for the event. It will include a picnic followed by a “rousing presentation” by activist Daniel Roth, event organizer Yehuda Beinin told Haaretz Thursday.

Roth, a recent immigrant to Israel from the Canadian movement, is scheduled to lead a discussion on the concept of personal fulfillment. He is an educator and social activist, and works as the program director of the Solidarity of Nations − Achvat Amim human rights initiative. “Creating an identity with Israel as a whole has always been a challenge,” said Beinin, who is originally from New Jersey. “This paradigm needs to be reexamined.” Beinin estimates that over 400 graduates of the North American movement, which has been sending people to Israel since 1934, have settled in the country. For more information, call Yehuda at (054) ‏561-4680.

MUSICAL ROOTS: Bluegrass meets blue and white next month when a recently formed band of Israelis debuts in Tel Aviv. Izhar Schejter, a graduate of and former faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, launched the bluegrass band, called the Nashville Ensemble, which is made up of students at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat Hasharon. Schejter, who was born in Philadelphia to Israeli parents, teaches at Rimon and serves as the ensemble's musical director. “Basically I am a big fan of that genre of music,” Schejter told Haaretz Thursday.

“Berklee − Rimon is its academic partner in Israel − has a big program called American Roots Music. The banjo player Eyal Atzmon approached me, and we were talking about it a while, and Meitar Forkosh, the fiddle player who is going to Berklee in September, was also into the idea. So I pitched it to the director of the school, Amikam Kimelman. He liked and we got it started.” The show in Tel Aviv on June 20 will include country, bluegrass, folk and southern rock classics. For more info, contact the Felicja Blumental Music Center at ‏(03‏) 620-1185.