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On “In the Bloom of Her Days”: Idit Zartal, Michael Handsaltz, Tzafrira Levine-Nir

Most attempts to translate Agnon into the language of theatre have so far ended in some degree of failure. In most cases, quiet, intimate reading of the Agnon text has proved a far deeper and more enriching experience than meeting the same text in its apparently enriched form on the stage. In the Bloom of Her Day is exceptional in this regard. We have here an extremely faithful transmission of the Agnon text in a highly introspective and delicate performance. Behind the restrained production of the play stands Michal Govrin, who guided the actress Rachel Levi and arrived with her at a clear and sensitive performative expression.

(From: Idit Zartal, ‘Introspective and delicate,’ At, January 1978)  


 This respect for the Agnon text succeeds in fascinating and touching the viewer more than all the reworkings I have seen. The main thing, after all, is still the work and not the actor or the theatre. In the Bloom of Her Day is a new phenomenon – indispensable and highly real. When one succeeds, in an evening at the theatre, to ignore the scenery and the beautiful costumes, to forget that one is dealing with an actress and acting, and to give way instead to the Agnon text – I believe one cannot possibly ask for a greater achievement.

(From: Michael Handsaltz, ‘By Virtue of Respect for the Agnon Text: In the Bloom of Her Day in the Jerusalem Khan Theatre,’ Ma’ariv, 19/10/1977)  


Director Michal Govrin and actress Rachel Levi [with the help of stage designer Freda Goldberger and costume director Judy Westmor] have created a world of Agnonesque illusion and reality. Rachel Levi preserves in her acting all the restraint and understatement of the story, somehow accentuating the sense of destiny it conveys. […] The Jerusalem Chan stage could have been created for the dramatization of Tirza’s story. […] From Tirza’s single performance, all the other characters rise up before us full and alive. […] The play passes before us as if from a magic lantern – images by image. Everything is hinted at, nothing too direct.

(From: Tzafrira Levine-Nir, ‘Agnon on the Chan Stage’, Al HaMishmar, 9/11/1977)