Games In The Backyard

By Edna Mazia

Credits:

 

Directed by: Noam Shmuel

Design: Avital Lahat

Music: Oran Eldor

Lighting: Yechiel Orgal

Electronic Tracks: Eyall Weiss

Video: Noam Shmuel

AD: Tal Schif

Cast:

 

Hani Furstenberg

Erez Kahana

Moran Kal

Iftach Ophir

Lior Rochman

English Reviews:
 

Rape Is Rape Is Rape

 

Mazya has written a most effective play. Director Noam Shmuel has beautifully created the atmosphere of the dangerous teenage game with deliberate use of video clips conveying information that goes beyond what is happening onstage, either scenes of the accused as innocent children or their sentencing to one to three years in jail. 

The four young actors successfully create the atmosphere of the violent male group, they work excellently as a team, and particularly notable is Yiftach Ophir with the natural stage leadership of someone who knows how to use force and avoid responsibility. But all this is dwarfed by Hani Firtsenberg in the leading role; she is blessed with an appearance giving the impression that she was created for the role of a girl-woman, and with a stage personality that blends vulnerability, flirtatiousness and danger, stemming from harsh emotional distress. When she asks, in the demanding role, whether the fact that she is “a bad girl” means that she deserves to be raped, the audience is left helpless.

 

Michael Handelzalts, Ha’aretz, 16.01.2008

 

 

A Harsh and Chilling Experience

 

Edna Mazya’s play has already been successfully produced in Israel in the 1990s. It transpires that today it is still alive and kicking both as a moving play and also as a chilling human document, which regrettably is still terribly relevant. Young director Noam Shmuel has staged a refreshing, young, and dynamic production. He particularly succeeds in creating the amazing atmosphere of the games played by the four youths and the raped girl, games ranging between youthful innocence and sexual tension that can be felt in the air. The performance reaches its climax in the rape scene that is organized around the swaying of the swing, loud music and excellent play of the lighting designed by Yehiel Orgal. But this is Hani Firstenberg’s show. She possesses not only the wonderful presence of a young girl, but her performance moves and thrills in its power, in the broad spectrum between a young girl’s innocence and dangerous games. The young actors who play the boys form a dynamic and effervescent group.

 

Elyakim Yaron, Kol Yisrael, 16.01.2008

 

 

Back to the Playground – A Young, Dynamic Production

 

Once [The Cameri Theatre] decided to revive this play, then this young and dynamic production by director Noam Shmuel is definitely a good way of doing so. Shmuel brings to the stage an energetic style based on video clips (edited by him) and beat music (written by Oran Eldor), and mainly on the sharp and intense performance of a young, unified cast. The actors shift convincingly between the roles of the youngsters playing forbidden games in the playground (set design by Avital Lahat) and those of the lawyers who play far more “respectable”, but no less lethal games in the courtroom. At center stage stands the swing, a symbol of the childish innocence that pervades the story.

Above all this play belongs to the group of youngsters – Erez Kahana, Moran Kal, Lior Rochman, Yiftach Ophir and Hani Firstenberg. Of the boys, worthy of special mention is Ophir who plays Assaf, the group’s charismatic leader, so chillingly. Firstenberg is wonderful in her transitions between the frightened girl and the passionate prosecutor who courageously faces the defense’s battery of sexist attorneys.

 

Shai Bar-Ya’akov, Yedioth Ahronoth, 16.01.2008

 

© 2019 by Noam Shmuel, Tel Aviv, Israel

Games in the Backyard

by Edna Mazia at The Cameri Theatre 2007 Directed by Noam Shmuel Photo: Moshe Shai משחקים בחצר האחורית מאת עדנה מזיא בתיאטרון הקאמרי של תל אביב בימוי: נועם שמואל צילום: משה שי