Judih speaks to Dor Nahum about the Mustache Theatre, 2012!

The Mustache Theatre!

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Eshkol Council Youth Theatre has done it again!

“The Newspaper” (העיתון) is this year’s play. I spoke to Dor Nahum, a member of the Mustache Theatre about the play.

Part1:Intro

Judih: Hi Dor. Could you introduce yourself?

Dor:: My name is Dor Nahum. I’m 16 1/2 years old. I live in Moshav Eshelim (http://www.negev-net.org.il/HTMLs/article.aspx?C2004=12616) in the area of Ramat Negev or Nitzana. My hobbies: I love photography, and bike-riding in the area and, of course, sleeping.

J: Tell me about The Mustache Theatre – (Teatron haSafam) – what is it, how long has it been active?

D: The Mustache Theatre has been active for quite a while – more than a decade. The theatre is for teenagers from Grade 8 till 12. It’s a theatre group for people who love theatre. They come and participate in all kinds of acting exercises, acting, drama play, fooling around and just enjoying themselves. Of course, every so often, we perform a  play

J: Okay. Who are the professionals you work with?
D: We have a director, Yaacov Amsalem. He’s everything for us – our director, someone who makes us laugh, and organizes everything. There’s Arieh, in charge of our finances, and who arranges the logistics of where and when we perform, all the technical details.

J:What play did you do last year?
D: Last year’s play was I am Me, a play that I unfortunately wasn’t a part of.  But it was very successful

J: Where did you perform last year?

D: it was performed in the Bat Yam Theatre Festival, and won Honourable Mention. And this year, I’m in the play.

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J: Tell me about your current play. How did it begin?

D: This year’s play is called The Newspaper. It’s a play that’s based on all the newspapers for youth – like Ma’ariv leNoar and others that deal with stories about and for teens – funny stories, stories about problems between teens and their parents who try to get close to them.

J: How did you begin work on the script?
D: We worked with a scriptwriter who watched us do warm-ups and exercises in our rehearsals. Then we went to books and took texts from there. If it was Meshkenat Tzedek or Ha Na’an Ve Aru (from India) from the Tea House from the book Cunchiat ha Kesem. (The Magic Shell)

We took all kinds of books and constructed the texts of the play.

J: Who was the scriptwriter?

D: I don’t remember the name. But he sat with Ya’acov our director and chose parts for everyone.

J: I see. Is there anything else you want to add about the process?

D: Actually it was a really short process – from the first read-through of the script till performance. We barely had to time to rehearse or run through the script. And after only 2 weeks, we already went to perform in Bat Yam, at the Festival.

J: Wow

D: And we got another Honourable Mention! From the Directors of the Festival and from the Critics.

J: Excellent.

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Part 3

J: Do you have a monologue?  Can you tell me about it?

D: Yes, I have a part. I was Aru, the owner of the Indian Tea House. And I’d verbally abuse a young Indian. Young Indian, Tea House – everything must run perfectly. If within 3 minutes the tea doesn’t get to the client, well then he’ll go to another Tea House. So, all the time I tell him, go there, go over there. I played the “bad guy”.

J: Did you enjoy playing him?

Dor: Yes, but on the other hand no. When I walked around, half the girls came to me crying that I was a bad man, an evil man.

And I’d say, half-cynically,”Okay”….

J: Yes, how did it really feel.

D: It was weird. On one hand, it was wait a minute, I’m not really like that, but on the other hand it was great – it really made them feel something. One friend told me that if people in the audience yelled to me: “Stop getting him crazy, stop sending him from side to side”, then it really meant that you succeeded in being believable.

J: Yes, you really did it! And congratulations

D: Yes, and we performed here in the Eshkol Auditorium, we also managed to get the message across, very well! Rami (Zvilli, Jr. High Principal of Nofei Habsor) said to me that I can take over his job.

J: You succeeded to that extent! Good for you.

J: How did you prepare for your role as Aru?

D:.The truth is that I was myself, as a mean human being,  that I didn’t have to consider him or his needs, but only that he needs to work on schedule and I listened to the Director. Ya’acov gave me very clear directions, to emphasize things, to move in a certain way

J: Okay.  So you brought it from within yourself.

Dor: yes!

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J: So tell me more about the play. Is it about the relationship between parents and their children?

D: Yes the whole story is about a couple who go to see the school counselor and he tells them about the problems at school, academic and social and how he doesn’t do anything. He asks where its coming from, if its due to circumstances at home, or some other place. And that the parents have to learn how to communicate. He gives then a paper ‘The Newspaper’ and there they read articles about how to relate to their son.

J: Were there parents who came to you and said that they related to the idea?

D: Yes, someone came up to the director and admitted that it was true

J: Excellent. No doubt there were others who felt the same.

J: Do you think the Mustache Theatre will be doing this play next year?

D: No every year we do a new play, with fresh ideas. If there’s a huge demand, then there’s a chance we would give another performance. It’s a really good play. We have another performance on June 15th at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.

J: Okay, now speaking personally, what was your favourite part of the play?

D: To stand in front of the audience, to act, and to see that  they got the message, that they were really attentive and didn’t disrupt us.

Part 4: Future and other Comments
J: What are your plans for next year?

D: I plan to continue with the Mustache Theatre because I really enjoy it there, even though I live quite far. There’s a great atmosphere and the people really enjoy theatre. But even if someone doesn’t think they have a sense for theatre, they can still come. It’s free and whoever comes is welcome. Come, take a look, and if you enjoy it, stay!

J: so you love it!

Dor: I love it. It’s not the first time that I’m involved in theatre. Since the 8th grade I’ve been doing theatre, directing plays for the local council or in Ashkelon with a friend of mine, a scriptwriter, who asked me to direct his play,  That play was well received. We also performed it in Ashdod and we received a lot of good feedback.

Theatre is the one thing that I’d give anything for.

J: Do you see yourself working in theatre in the future?

Dor: Yes, as an actor, or a director.

J: Great. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Dor: I hope that people will see the play, that they’ll come because it’s fun. We laugh and enjoy ourselves. It’s for those with a theatrical sense and even for those who don’t! Come, take a look, and give it a try. It’s fun!

J: Where do you do your rehearsals?

D: For the plays, it’s in Moshav Amioz or in Nir Itzhak in the Little theatre. The workshop is on Mondays here at school (Nofei Habsor Comprehensive), from 4:30 – 6:30. And it’s worth coming.

J: Okay! Good luck to you, Dor.  Thanks so much for talking to me.

 Judih Speaks to Dor Nahum in Hebrew, on youtube!

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The Mustache Theatre! “Tzeva Adom” (Red Alert)

Tzeva Adom!

"Tzeva Adom" Red Alert!

"Tzeva Adom" Red Alert!

What can a bunch of kids do when the cry of ‘Tzeva Adom’ becomes part of the vernacular? What can a bunch of creative kids, who belong to the Mustache Theatre Group, do when they’re looking for a subject for their latest stage performance? What can these same kids do when their youth club is the target of a qassam and they need to find the strength to go on?

They can write a play! And that’s how “Tzeva Adom” came into being. Melany Rosemberg, a member of the group for a few years, told me her experiences.

Judih: Can you tell me about your experiences with Tzeva Adom?

Melany: “I live on a kibbutz, Gevulot, which so far hasn’t had any qassams, (knock on wood) but I deeply felt the fear of other kids who had experienced qassams falling near their homes.  I felt their fear. You can’t help but feel it – because we work on a psychological level in our group. I wanted to help them.

Judih: How did the play start?

Melany: “A qassam fell on our workshop. Not when we were there, but still, it was shocking. That’s how the whole play idea started. All of us, for the first time, shared the feeling of a qassam landing in our lives. We didn’t know what to do at first. I mean we cried.  It was such a shock, but then we decided we had to use drama to overcome the feelings we had. So we began to work on the play”

Judih: Is the play still being performed?

Melany: The play is going to be performed. I’m not sure when. But, we still meet every Monday afternoon to work on drama.

A quote from the play, from a monologue by Osnat:

It happened the same morning.

It’ll stay with me all my life.

The ‘Red Alert’ that i heard suddenly

Got me panicked and I didn’t know what to do…

Writing the Script

Ofer Sela, Israeli playwright, who has worked with the Mustache Theatre Group before, put together a skeleton of vignettes of daily life in this Otef Azza region. Along with this, the kids in the The Mustache Theatre added their own touches. A few wrote and performed their own monologues, others wrote brief sketches of things that typify life here, these days.

I spoke to Yuval Revia, an artist and a natural on stage, about his particular contribution to the performance. He wrote a piece about a kid’s birthday party. To the dismay of the young birthday boy, his relatives were afraid to step foot in the qassam-threatened area, and the only guest who actually showed up was a neighbour who dared to appear at his home in full padding and helmet. She managed to enjoy a super brief stay till she had to escape back to the safety of her family.

The little boy’s ice-cream reward for turning a year older didn’t really make a dent in the fact that people think three times before coming to family gatherings. But the laughter was apparent in the comic getup of the guest. What can you do? Life goes on no matter how inane.

Members of the Mustache Youth Theatre troupe include:

  • Aviv Zanzuri
  • Osnat Almog
  • Ioav Mishkyn
  • Yuval Revia
  • Yotam Labban
  • Ya’ara Messika
  • Carmel Israel
  • Liran Morad
  • Miri Sosnu Baski
  • Melany Rosemberg
  • Idan Aharon
  • Tzach Elbaz
  • Rahel Cohen
  • and Shahaf Simon

The Mustache Theatre is a theatre workshop for kids of Junior High and High School level from Ma’ale Habsor Comprehensive School together with Habsor Comprehensive School. The workshop addresses the very real talent of students in the area and offers a deeply needed mode of artistic expression. Many of the actors have other artistic skills, whether in the plastic arts, music or in writing.

The Mustache Theatre youth group has been in existence for a number of years.  This year’s production of Tzeva Adom was directed by Ya’acov Amsalem. Choreography was done by Osnat Kashi, music provided by David Valdman, costumes by Smadar Boaron. Production: The Only Team for Teenagers

The show “Tzeva Adom” has been touring all over Israel. Minimalism is the key. Props include a few chairs, a table. Visuals are screened onstage. Costumed in the colours red, black and white, the figures make dramatic impressions on a fairly bare stage. This is a play that can raise an audience’s awareness as to how absurd  life is, living together with the Red Alert. Yet, life goes on. Life goes on with humour, satire, and talking about things out loud.

If you get a chance, go see it.

I’ll add some contact info to this spot. Stay tuned.

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Quote from the promo for the play:

Life in the shadow of qassams, a group of kids show us daily life as it is, compared to what we’re told by newspapers. We look at the personal experiences as well as social life in Otef Azza. Songs and choreography, dramatic vignettes all make up this performance, something which communicates it all to the audience while offering these kids another way to deal with reality. Length of show: 60 minutes.