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When We Had Wings

By Ori Oryan
Based on a novel by Tami Shem Tov

Mediatheque Theatre
Holon, Israel


An original play based on true stories from the world’s first democratic orphanage. The institute was founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 1912 by Janusz Korczak, a revolutionary pedagogue, pediatrician and writer who dedicated his life to children and their right to live in dignity. For thirty years, the institute, self-managed by the children, served as a loving home for hundreds. It had a court, a constitution and a newspaper, and provided a self-supporting system. The children enjoyed culture and sports, and all worked as cooks and cleaners. They called it a “Garden of Eden for kids”. In the novel, the main character, Janek Wolff, is a street boy and thief who joins the orphanage. As was often the case, life there enabled him to find the strength to become a strong, honest and caring person. The novel ends before the beginning of World War II, as Korczak persuades Janek to leave Poland and save his life.
"When We Had Wings” (Known in hebrew as "I’m not a Thief”) won Andersen Honor Citation 2014, Lea Goldberg Prize 2013, Dafdaf prize 2012, Israeli Public Libraries Prize, was selected for school book list by The Ministry of Education, selected as most beloved book by students for 2014 and 2015, and became a bestseller.


Play By: Ori Oryan

Directed by: Noam Shmuel

Set and Costume Design: Aviah Bash

Music: Ronnie Reshef

Movement: Meital Tula Damari

Magic Advisor: Lior Rochman

Speech: Margalit Gez

Assistant Director: Noa Ben Ari


Yoli Seker

Recorded Voices:

Gila Almagor

Gilad Kletter

The Mediatheque Theater Acting Studio

Kan Reshet Bet - Haboker Haze - 27.1.22
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“With the help of magic that only happens in the theater… the audience feels as if they are sitting in the great hall of Korczak orphanage, taking part of Janek’s trial… I watched the play with my 12 year old son and we couldn’t stop talking about it...It is truly remarkable how a single actor is able to create and bring to life an entire world” 

Meira Barnea Goldberg, Mako, 24.4.22

“Yeli Seker flawlessly transforms from one character to the next... Throughout the play, for a few almost unnoticed moments, there were actual magic tricks happening on stage and the ten-and-a-half-year-old next to me was captivated by the miraculous sight.”

Liraz Levi, Habama, 5.4.22

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