Theater

In Seventh Heaven

by Camea Smith | 26.01.18

Photo: Natalie Michelson

The theater director Noa Wagner has experienced the performing arts from both sides of the stage. Wagner first ventured on to the stage as a dancer and gradually found herself drawn backstage, as a choreographer and later on as a director. She is currently completing her MA studies in the Directing programme at LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art). While dividing her time between Israel and England, her latest theater production, In Seventh Heaven, continues to captivate audiences with its oddball characters and wry sense of humour.

In Seventh Heaven was first adapted for the stage in 1992 from a play written by the novelist Yaakov Shabtai. The play follows the stories of four women and four men, struggling to regain control and climb up the social ladder in Jerusalem in the Crusader Period. In Seventh Heaven is a revue featuring satirical songs composed especially for the performance. Wagner chose to cast actors who are also musicians and they perform live during the course of the show.

In Wagner’s new adaptation of the play, the four feminine roles –  a prostitute, a young peasant girl, a cheating wife and a frivolous duchess – are performed by one actress, Yael Mor. Mor swiftly wears and strips off identities on stage, appearing in every scene of the show from beginning to end. The decision to let a single actress portray the four heroines from the original play creates the impression that each role represents different facets and attributes of one diverse character.

The four male roles – a soldier, a merchant, a husband and a priest – are played by three actors: Omer Moshkovitz, Yotam Kushnir and Eliad Sudai. The fact that the female protagonist is outnumbered by her male counterparts adds tension to their encounters, emphasizing the shifting power balance between the male and female actors. In most instances, the men have the upper hand in the sexual economy depicted in the play. Although In Seventh Heaven is set in medieval Jerusalem, it offers an all-too-relevant commentary on gender, power and privilege.

The next performances of In Seventh Heaven, produced by Tahel Theater, will take place in Beit Zionei America – ZOA House (1 Daniel Frisch Street, Tel Aviv) on January 26 (Friday) at 21:00 and on January 27 (Saturday) at 19:00 and 21:30. Tickets for the show are available in the following link: https://eventbuzz.co.il/jsflb.

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