Thursday, June 29, 2017
Preview: Cleveland Israel Arts Connection and Dobama present Israeli Actor Roy Horovitz
It is the purpose of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, to share the beauty of Israel, deepen Jewish identity, and explore the human condition. This is done by presenting programs of dance, film, music, literature, the visual arts and theater.
Cleveland Israel Arts Connection’s next offering, in collaboration with Dobama, will be two-one act plays starring Roy Horovitz, performed on the stage at Dobama Theatre from July 13 through 16.
Horovitz, and excellence in Israeli theatre, have been become synonymous based on his work with Habima, the National Theatre of Israel, and his many appearances in the United States. He was named “Best Actor” at the International Children and Youth Festival twice and “Best Director” at Cameri Theatre of Tel-Aviv.
The Cleveland Israel Arts Connection program will consist of “My First Sony,” a comedy based on an Israeli book of the same name, which centers on eleven-year old Yotam (Horovitz) who is obsessed with documentation, and records his family and their many conflicts on his tape recorder. The boy finds himself trying to make sense of his world as it crumbled around him, which gives a glimpse of Israeli life not found in the headlines.
“The Timekeepers,” the other one-act on the program, is a script by American writer, Dan Clancy, that caught on in Israel and has since toured the world in Hebrew and English versions.
The play gives a different view of the Holocaust. It tells the story of a conservative elderly Jewish watchmaker and Hans, an outrageous gay German man imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during World War II. The duo is assigned to repair watches for their Nazi overlords. As they work together, suspicion, prejudice and indifference slowly give way to a touching friendship.
Israel, in spite of its orthodox underpinnings, is the most gay-friendly nation in the Middle East. Gays and lesbians are integrated in all levels of society from politics to business to the military. Tel Aviv Gay Pride, attended by 200,000 participants in 2016, is a week-long series of events and is considered by many to be a national holiday.
Horovitz, an out gay man, has benefited from that liberal attitude. He has performed “The Timekeepers” at Out-In-Israel, as well as at Gay Pride celebrations in the United States.
Horovitz thinks “the play conveys the full spectrum of human emotions, despite its grim setting.” He’s “pleased how the play shows that the pink triangle was worn side by side with the yellow star during the Holocaust.”
Horovitz says,” I simply love playing Hans.” His favorite moment in the play is the ending scene, “when we come to learn that there is so much more to him than meets the eye. I hope it will be a reminder to keep our humanity and sense of humor, even in the darkest times and against all odds.”
“I never knew a play that mentions the gay holocaust,” Horovitz said. “I thought it was important to remind people there were other minorities in the Holocaust.” (Side note: Martin Sherman’s “Bent,” which will be performed by Beck Center next June, is another play about homosexuality from that era. It follows a group of gay men finding ways to survive Nazi persecution of homosexuals.)
Both “My First Sony” and “The Timkeepers” will be performed in English.
Cleveland Israel Arts Connection is co-chaired by philanthropist Roe Green and Erica Hartman-Horvitz. Green stated, “We are thrilled to bring a world-class Israeli artist to town to perform.”
The appearance of Roy Horovitz is the first collaboration between Dobama and the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, which will be followed up in the summer of 2018 with a production of "On The Grill" by Dror Keren. That script finds the author revisiting the landscape of his childhood, in the Jezreel Valley, evoking, like the last flickering embers of a fire, a way of life that has all but disappeared from Israeli culture: the kibbutz.
What: “An Evening with Roy Horovitz” @ Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights on July 13 (7:30 pm, 14 (8 pm), 15 (8 pm), 16 (2:30 pm). Tickets: $30 for general admission, $25 for Dobama members. To purchase tickets, visit Dobama.org or call 216-932-3396. For information on the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, visit jewishcleveland.org