Theater: Yigal Ezrati

Theater: Yigal Ezrati

To introduce Jews to Arab culture and Jews to Jewish culture, in a bilingual Hebrew/Arabic theatre where talents are freely expressed in both languages, is the vocation and ambition of the Jaffa Theater and its director Ygal Ezraty.

A pacifist and conscientious objector, Ygal Ezraty is a man of passion who has always acted and reacted in accordance with his convictions.

The Jaffa Theater, a unique and mythical place to see it live together… on stage!

In order to preserve their traditions, a group of young Jews met and decided to form a theatre troupe whose repertoire would use the Hebrew language. Thus was born the Habima company, founded in 1918 by Nahum Zemach in Moscow under the auspices of the Moscow Art Theatre. The director Constantin Stanislavski ensured that the troupe, essentially composed of Polish Jewish actors, could be formed by Evgeny Vakhtangov, and the People’s Commissioner for Nationality Issues Joseph Stalin, who authorized its creation. The troop arrived in Tel Aviv in 1928. She called on Alexei Dickly, director of the Moscow Theatre, to create her first plays.  Thanks to Dickly’s success during the 1928-1929 season, Habima became a de facto troop of national importance. Construction work on the theatre itself began in 1935.

Since Israeli theatre plays an important role in the formation and evolution of Israeli society, it is not surprising that the conflict between Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians has also played an important role since the early 20th century. However, Theatre is no longer simply dramatic. It is first and foremost a meeting between living people, actors and spectators who share the same space for the duration of the theatrical event. This article follows two important moments in the history of the Israeli Theatre: the emergence of Arab narrative on the Israeli scene and the entry of Arab actors, in order to highlight the Theatre’s special contribution to understanding between the two peoples.

At the Jaffa Theatre, a Bobo district in the south of Tel Aviv, reality goes beyond fiction. This unique and emblematic place, supported and embodied by Yigal Ezrati, its current director, is a true institution valued and appreciated by all the inhabitants of Tel Aviv. With bilingual performances in Hebrew and Arabic, each show is an experience of living together and a model of utopia that is alive and well!