By George Orwell
Adapted by Peter Hall
Tel Aviv, Israel
This much-acclaimed dramatization of George Orwell's classic, allegorical novel was first seen at the National Theatre of England in 1984.
Manor Farm has fallen on hard times under the ownership of spiteful drunken farmer, Mr Jones. Tired of the hard life under human rule, the starving animals drive their wicked master off the land.
The sun rises on the reborn ‘Animal Farm’, a perfect home for those who walk on trotters, hooves or webbed feet. “All animals are equal” – everyone gets an equal share of food for an equal share of work. Life is good, and pleasures are plenty.
But it isn’t long before the pigs take charge and things start to turn sour. While all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.
Animal Farm is an ironic parable about shattered dreams, altruism and egoism, and first and foremost about human nature.
Lyrics: Adrian Mitchell
Music by: Richard Peaslee
Translated by: Daniel Efrat
Directed by: Noam Shmuel
Musical Director: Nadav Rubinshtein
Vocal Coach: Doki Atsmon
Set Design: Niv Manor
Movement: Amit Zamir
Lighting Design: Ziv Voloshin
Costume Design: Aviah Bash
Assistant Director: Hadas Sher
Stage Manager: Tanya Sochanov
Photos: Liran Levy
Sound Design: Michael Vaisburd
Assistant Director: Hadas Sher
“The Gesher Young Ensemble”
Yael Bouton/Yael Shildkraut
Imri Biton/Hillel Capone
Shiri Ben Cohen
Gal Ben Amra
"An Excellent Production, Edgy, Musical Political Satire with a Sharp Bite"
Noam Shmuel has created a production in which all the elements work together in such harmony, that one is utterly carried away by the sweeping emotions and rhythms of this fairy tale, experiencing the awakening exhilaration of revolt, the joys of community, and the growing sense of injustice and outrage.
The simplicity of the story is echoed in the choice of costumes and set. From the play’s first moments, each animal is distinct as a member of its species, and as it progresses, each becomes distinct as an individual. The first is due to the imaginative and precise attention to movement in this production, choreographed by Amit Zamir. The movement is imbued with authenticity, humor and sensitivity – it is one of the many strengths of this production. The ensemble cast is wonderful, working well as a group and at the same time, each revealed to the audience as an individual with thoughts and feelings.
Live music accompanies this performance. This production of Animal Farm simply breathes music, the songs and accompanying instrumentals are such an integral part of the work, working their associative magic on the mind. The songs work very well in Hebrew, moreover, the music for the production has been carefully selected for maximum subversive impact. As the animals experience their political awakening and join together to rebel against their oppressor and create a new, egalitarian, just society, one can recognize the melodies of popular Israeli folk songs in the instrumentals. These are songs that were written in the spirit of the new egalitarian, just society that would be built in the land of Israel, songs of hope and unity. Songs that for some, today, represent the false hope and false sense of unity intended to mask a culture in which there is an ever-widening abyss between the haves and the have-nots, in which, as Orwell put it “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Ayelet Dekel, MidnightEast 20.9.15
“A Fine Ensemble Work”
“Rather than dress up as the various animals, the actors portray them brilliantly via voice and movement, coached by Amit Zamir. Niv Manor’s minimalist set includes a “wall” of plastic panels, perfect for “graffiti” and to obscure the ramshackle structure behind it. A series of different-sized metal barrels function as both furniture and props. Napoleon uses the water troughs on the forestage to waterboard Snowball, and to wallow in, but they are also metaphor for death, like the river Styx.
The animals wear Aviah Bash’s unisex costumes, a nod to Mao’s China and to Orwell’s own 1984. They’re muddy looking, murky as Ziv Voloshin’s clever lighting. The actors deliver text and song with energy and enthusiasm.
This Animal Farm is fine ensemble work, especially as some of the actors portray more than one animal, notably Sivan Mast who’s both the nervy, high-strung mare Molly and one of Napoleon’s eager, slavering attack dogs. The absolute standouts are Aviv Carmi as Napoleon and Gal Ben-Amra as the strong carthorse, Boxer. Ben-Amra’s shambling, uncomplaining, loyal – “Napoleon is always right” – and clueless Boxer is perfect. Carmi’s increasingly vicious Napoleon lets his menace show gradually. As his power grows, so does his weight, actually and politically”
Hellen Kaye, Jerusalem Post, 25.10.15