One woman production depicts epic 'love story'
The critically acclaimed monodrama “An Israeli Love Story” brought to life the true story of a young woman living in pre-state Israel play at AU Sept. 13. The night also marked the play’s 299th performance.
The drama was performed in front of a full house at the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. AU’s Center for Israel Studies, the Department of the Performing Arts and the Embassy of Israel sponsored the show.
Laura Cutler, assistant director of the Center for Israel Studies, wanted to expose the students of AU to the atmosphere of pre-state Israel and felt that this play did that.
“Since so many of our programs focus on current aspects of Israeli history, society, culture, and politics, I thought it would be interesting for our students to learn about the early days and values of the state,” Cutler said.
The play centers around Margalit, a young woman living in 1940s pre-state Israel, and her love for Ami, an idealistic Kibbutz pioneer and soldier in the Palmach, the unofficial army for pre-state Israel. As the story of their love unfolds, so does the story of the establishment of the state of Israel.
The show is based on the true story of Pnina Gary, the writer and director of the play. Gary said during the question-and-answer session after the show that she was initially inspired to tell her story by her grandson, who was doing a family heritage project for school and asked her about her life. She was encouraged to share her story with others and turned it into a play with the hopes that others could relate to it and find comfort in it. The play has since become extremely successful.
Adi Bielski, who won the Israeli Best Actress Award in Fringe Theater for this role in 2009, skillfully portrayed all the roles depicted in the play. She dominated the stage and manipulated the only prop, a bench used as a podium, a table, a seat on a bus, a bed and even a motorcycle. Not only did Adi physically perform the character perfectly, but she also emotionally connected with the character she portrayed. Her empathy shined through and made Pnina Gary’s story come to life.
“An Israeli Love Story” is a powerful play that not only evokes a sense of nostalgia for the people of Israel, but also relates to today’s generation.