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"A milestone in Israeli culture": we returned to the play that shaped the character of the sword Israel today


Produced in Israel: The play "He Walked in the Fields", staged at the Chamber Theater immediately after the establishment of the state, became a breakthrough in that for the first time a young hero, born in Israel and speaking Hebrew, stood on the stage • Its effects are still evident today: "The play touched the most open wounds of Israeli society"

1948 was not only the year in which the State of Israel was established, but also the year in which a new page was born in the history of Hebrew theater in Israel.

This happened thanks to the play "He Walked in the Fields", which was staged on May 31, 1948 at the Chamber Theater, and in which for the first time a young hero, born in the country and speaking Hebrew, stood on the stage, with whom the audience could identify.

The premiere took place two weeks after the establishment of the state, in the midst of the War of Independence.

The combination between what was shown on the stage and the happenings in the public arena turned the show at once into a national event, which swept away the residents of the young country.

The success of the show and its transformation into a kind of founding myth contributed to the fact that it was staged five more times in different theaters between 1956 and 2018.

Among the actors who starred in the original show: Emmanuel Ben Amos (Uri) and Hanna Maron (Mika).

"Our plan was to establish an Israeli theater, but 'Israeli' does not only mean 'written in Hebrew' - but a modern play, plays in which the atmosphere of the country will be reflected. For years we have been criticized for talking about Israeli plays and not presenting anything original (from 44 13 plays from the rest of the world were performed until '48. We received many original plays, but they were all in an old-fashioned style of Zionism and pathos," said Yosef Milo, actor, director and one of the founders of the chamber, in Itamar Varda Wechsler's film "From Then to Today", which was screened at the theater as part of The huge exhibition in 1994 to mark Camry's 50th anniversary.

Yosef Milo.

"We've received a lot of criticism that we don't upload anything original,"

"Meanwhile, I recruited young translators who had never translated for the theater before, such as Dan Ben Amotz and Natan Alterman. In the newspaper 'Al Hamishmer', Moshe Shamir wrote small Philitones, I read them and I liked them. I asked him if he would like to write an Israeli play, and he told me that he Currently writing a novel called 'He Walked in the Fields' which is already in print, and which he thinks might be suitable for a movie, but not for the theater. I read the book in one night and brought Moshe a written plan, and according to that Moshe wrote the play. And the rest is history."

A heroic death

In a conversation with Professor Avner Ben Amos, a historian and theater person - and the son of Emanuel, who played Uri in the original, he says: "This play has gone through many incarnations from the novel studied for the matriculation exam, in which Moshe Shamir, who was a member of the Mishmar Hamek kibbutz, became disillusioned with the kibbutz and wanted to visit its atmosphere .

"It's a psychological novel that emphasizes the mental struggles of the heroes - especially that of Uri, who is torn between the desire to join the Palmach and fight the British and his family, and ends his life by committing suicide, in a training accident that he directs.

The saber is presented as a man who is unable to stand up for himself, and finds the solution in suicide.

In honor of staging the play, Shamir rewrote it, added emphasis, took out a lot of psychology and put in humor.

He turned Uri's death into the death of a hero, who fell in an action reminiscent of the Night of the Bridges.

It's not the death of someone who takes their own life, but a heroic death."

You weren't born then, but later on - how much was your father's mythological role present at home?

"In a sense, this was his first and last major role. He continued to be an actor in Camry until 1964, but did not receive roles at this level. He went to America in '64, stayed there and died in 2007. You can say that the great actor of the saber character at the end of Devar continued his life in exile, and I became a researcher and historian of culture and theater, and wrote about the gap between the novel and the play. We all remember - not because of the play, but because of the movie starring Asi Dayan - the heroic character of Uri. What interested me, as someone who deals with memory Collectively, it's that Israelis remember the play more than the novel. They remember Uri as a heroic figure, as a hero who sacrifices his life for the homeland, and deny the complex Uri who ultimately takes his own life."

"something that belongs to us"

Uri Levy, a veteran theater actor and who later managed the Gesher Theater, recalls that time, when he was involved in the second production of "He Walked in the Fields" and realized how much of a play that has become a canon: "There is no doubt that it was a breakthrough in original plays. I remember the reactions, How excited I was as a teenager to suddenly see something of ours, that belongs to us."

Noam Semel, who managed the Chamber for 25 years and is proud of quite a few of its successes, still remembers how when he entered his position this spectacle hovered overhead.

"It was the first Hebrew play that appeared after the establishment of the state and by Sabar. It touched the most open wounds of Israeli society, which was in the making."

The last version of the play was staged in 2016 at Beit Lisin, directed by Kafir Azoulai, adapted by Shahar Pankas and starring Gal Amitai as Ori and Agam Rodberg as Mika, who became the main character in the new adaptation.

"When we were working on the play, it was clear that this was a milestone in Israeli culture. It was the first play that connected the Sabers with the people who immigrated after the Holocaust and WWII, and he talked about the difference and the dream of being a Saber, what it means to die for the homeland and what it means to live for it." , reproduces Rodberg.

In your new version, Mika got a bigger and more significant place.

"It really felt like the story was being told through Mika. In our version we also hinted more at the relationship she had with Uri's father, but the play at the end is called 'He went to the fields', not 'She went.' ".

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Source: israelhayom

All life articles on 2023-02-01

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