Program notes from the Artistic Director, Ari Roth
Iris Bahr is a singular talent inhabiting multiple personalities. She’s also a razor sharp elocutionist and intellect with a pitch perfect ear for the way we live during times of strife. Iris is uniquely positioned, experientially and politically, to bring us the news from a Tel Aviv café during a time of media scrutiny, of charge and counter-charge, of indiscriminate violence and retaliatory actions. The cry of “Enough” (or “Dai/Maspik” in Hebrew) rings out in this piece as an enduringly resonant call for the cessation of bombing madness. Although set in Tel Aviv, “Dai” might as well be the cry being heard in Sderot, or Ashdod, or Mumbai, or Gaza City for that matter. The theatrical punctuations of this play resonate beyond the literal and are amplified as we contemplate the repercussions of what we’re not seeing. The play oscillates between humor and dread; between humanity and its negation. And it launches Theater J’s latest installment of “Voices From a Changing Middle East.” We move back to our own space at the 16th Street J for Hillel Mitepunkt’s The Accident and Motti Lerner’s Benedictus, an Iran-Israel-US collaboration. We can’t think of any more vivid way to begin this festival than with Iris Bahr’s tour de force.
- Ari Roth