Rank and File: Charlie Brown Comes to Jerusalem

J-Town Theater stages Charlie Brown | The grandson of the king of Swaziland tells his story in Jerusalem | Bad Kid productions joins the English theater community

The cast of 'You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.'
Ita Arbit

GOOD GRIEF!: As a child Aviella Trapido, who is now director of J-Town Theater, enjoyed the animated TV film “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” without knowing it began as an off-Broadway musical in 1967. “So when the opportunity came to stage it, I couldn’t pass it up,” Trapido told Haaretz about the production that will run in Jerusalem from Nov. 22-30. Trapido, who hails from Johannesburg, said that during rehearsals cast members shared moments from their childhoods in order to connect to the simplicity of the characters. “What ended up emerging was something far more complex and thought-provoking, which they bring into their characters.” The result, she said, is “very much a family show everybody can come away with something that speaks to them.” The cast includes native South Africans Daniel Lewin and Moshe Trapido, American-born Sarah Lavin and Dovid Singer and sabras Shlomit Kovalsky and Daniel Fox. For tickets, call (02) 566-1181.

THE RABBI PRINCE: What happens when an African prince converts to Judaism and decides to become a rabbi in Israel? Only Natan Gamedze, the grandson of the king of Swaziland, can tell you. Gamedze, a graduate of both Oxford University and the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, will tell his story in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The event is sponsored by Telfed – the South African Zionist Federation, World Mizrahi and Wits Israel Alumni. Les Glassman, who was the Israeli representative at Wits from 1978 to 1984, told Haaretz that Gamedze began his journey to Judaism while studying Hebrew at Wits, one of the few places besides synagogue where blacks and whites could mix freely in apartheid-era South Africa. He connected with Prof. Moshe Sharon, who “arranged his bursary to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,” said Glassman, a Johannesburg native. “It is such a moving and wonderful story,” he added. For more info, call Les at (052) 552-2438.

IN REAL LIFE: Bad Kid Productions, a new Tel Aviv-based production company specializing in live theater, music and web content, joins the English theater community on Thursday with the premiere of “The Olim Project” at the ZOA House. The original documentary play chronicles the immigration experience from the perspective of dozens of characters, exploring the joys, triumphs and troubles of living in such a complex society. “I was inspired to create this piece to highlight through real people’s words and stories how much we really do all share common experiences here in Israel,” Rebecca Flanders, the play’s writer and director, told Haaretz. “I hope that when people come to see it the recognize themselves in these characters.” The cast includes U.S.-born Miriam Metzinger, Israelis Ayala Shiftan, Shahak Brenner, Eyal Sherf and Niva Alush, and native Moldovan Elizabeth Kon. There will also be a Nov. 30 performance. Info at https://www.facebook.com/badkidprod/

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