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Margaret Croyden – Tel Aviv Festival Explores Todey’s Jewish Theater

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The Journey of the Year

The first international Jewish theater festival, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv | July 1982

Performance – students of the theater department of the Hebrew University, in collaboration with the Khan Theater

Department of Theatre in The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Research, dramatization: the students of the Department of the History of Theatre, The Hebrew University

Editing and Directing: Michal Govrin

Design: Frieda Klapholtz

Musical arrangements: Andre Hajdu

Musical direction and flute – Akiva Ben-Horin; violin – Tania Susskind; guitar – Roger Ychai

Costume making: Vered Slonimky

Participating: Betti Edry, Hava Goren, Carmela Hotzen, Talli Hefetz, Ziva Haimson, Liora Hanoch, Shimon Yahav, Zimrat Yardeni, Ronit Lichtman, Diana Lam, Smadar Misrahi, Liora Malka, Isaac Slomiansky, Erik Schinazi, Yolanda Perlmutter, Ilan Tsipora, Offer Rotem, Ofra Shahor, Shukrun Eliyahu (Shuky), Shlomit Steinberg

Visitor Actors: Victor Attar, Yossi Kenan – The Jerusalem Khan Theatre

About the play

The Journey of the Year is an endeavor to convey the experience of living the Jewish calendar, through the medium of theater. The plot and dramatic structure of the production map out the cycle of the year, its seasons and holidays. In this show, the audience is not a passive observer, but rather a participant in the journey, moving with the actors through the course of the year, as it is marked out by the “holiday stations”.

It is based on elements drawn from the Jewish sources, as interpreted by the students of the Hebrew University’s Department of Theater in their academic and creative studies, with the assistance of the artists who took part in the project. The experiment is dedicated both to casting a new light on the Jewish year and festivals, and to developing ways of articulating them through performance. The Journey of the Year opens up the results of a private workshop to the public at large.

The Journey of the Year was created for the First International Congress of Jewish Theater, and was produced with the support of the festival and of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The full play “The Journey of the Year”


Act I: Autumn (Rosh Hashana – The New Year, Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement, Sukkoth – Feast of Tabernacles)
This act sees man through the exertion of renewal: his confrontation with judgment and efforts to evade it, his fears of the future and hopes for it – from the Slichot (penitential prayers) to the Hosha’na Rabbah (the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles); from the individual’s solitude to the uniting of society and its laws on Simhat Torah (The Rejoicing of the Law).

Act II: Winter (the new moon, Hanukkah – the Feast of Lights, the 15th of Sh’vat – Arbor Day, Purim – the Carnival Festival).
This is the time of conception, pregnancy, and birth. During this season, a fundamental pattern recurs: that of emerging from latency to blossoming, from darkness to light, and from distress to salvation, concluding at the redeeming carnival of Purim in “Ad d’lo yada” (drunk ‘until he could not discern’)

Act III: Spring (Passover, 33rd day of the Omer, Shavuoth – Feast of Weeks) Walking through the forty-nine days of the Counting of the Omer, this act performs the drama of the Exodus, through to the spiritual culmination of the betrothal that takes place on Mount Sinai.

Act IV: Summer (Ninth of Av – day of fasting and mourning in memory of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, Fifteenth of Av – the Festival of Love) The death of nature occurs simultaneously with the destruction of the temples and the onset of grief. The Phoenix, however, rises from its ashes in the festival of vineyards and marriage. With it we see the revival of nature, while the readings and penitential prayers bring our cyclical journey round towards the beginning of the new year.

A diagram of the course of “The Journey of the Year”, from the program of the show | By Frieda Klapholtz