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"At the farewell party I told Ronnie, my best friend, for the first time, that I love him" - Walla! culture


Roni Pinkovich's latest play will be revealed in a reading at Beit Lessin directed by his best friend Erez Shafrir, who tells in an interview about their intense relationship and difficult separation ("I naively waited for the drug or a miracle"), and also reveals that he contracted corona two weeks after the booster ("kidney transplant, without the vaccine"). I was snoring in the hospital ")

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"At the farewell party I told Ronnie, my best friend, for the first time, that I love him."

Roni Pinkovich's latest play will be revealed in a reading at Beit Lessin directed by his best friend Erez Shafrir, who tells in an interview about their intense relationship and difficult separation ("I naively waited for the drug or a miracle"), and also reveals that he contracted corona two weeks after the booster ("kidney transplant, without the vaccine"). I was snoring in the hospital ")


  • Roni Pinkovich

  • Erez Shafrir

  • Ian Pinkovich

  • Beit Lessin

  • Foreign workers

  • Multiple Sclerosis

Sagi Ben Nun

Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 08:35 Updated: 08:37

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"Ronnie was creative and genius."

Pinkovich (Photo: Maariv, Yossi Aloni)

"So instead of taking care of your grandmother you traveled all the way to the Philippines, to be a caregiver of a Filipino grandfather, so that your grandmother would have a Filipino caregiver who traveled the opposite way?"

(From "therapists", the last play written by Ronnie Pinkovitz)

Almost a year after the actor, playwright and director Ronny Pinkovitz, choose to end his life, at age 56, in face of 30 years with multiple sclerosis, will be revealed to the public last play he wrote, " The Therapists, as part of the Israeli Play Festival "Opening Stage" of the Beit Lessin Theater named after the Baruch Ivcher Theater. As a significant stage for the development of a new Israeli play.

Pinkowitz wrote the latest play from his personal experiences of illness and following his relationship with his Filipino therapist, Brix.

The play, which left a kind of artistic personal will, deals with three Israelis who find themselves in the Philippines and find work as caregivers.

This reversal of roles creates amusing moments, and also teaches about the character of the Israeli macho.

It will be performed on Friday at 12:00 in a staged reading directed by Erez Shafrir, Pinkovich's best friend, and featuring actors Dror Keren, Kobi Farage, Udi Rothschild and Adal Hayun.

The play is also scheduled to be staged as a play but it is not known when.

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Best friends since the age of 14. Roni Pinkovich and his best friend Erez Shafrir, during their school days at Nissan Nativ (Photo: courtesy of the family)

"I was a hard nut, but Ronny didn't give up on me, and just picked me up like a wet chick."

Roni Pinkovich and Erez Shafrir (Photo: courtesy of the family)

The play is also the last stop on Pinkovich's long journey with his good friend, actor and director Erez Shafrir, which included studying in the same class at Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, collaborating in the IDF Theater, learning together in Nissan Nativ's acting studio, and working side by side in plays. "Frodo", "Surveillance in the Dark" and "Otz Li Gutz Li".

"Ronnie's death is a great loss to me," Shafrir says in an interview with Walla! culture. "I'm very much building on time. Let time be forgotten. Because that's what happens with time, it's somehow slipping. You remember fewer things, we're getting dimmer. Right now it's even tougher. Especially now, For him, we just missed him. Before the reading, we did some tightening up for the play, and questions arose - why did you download it? What would he say about it? .

Roni wrote the play inspired by his Filipino therapist, Brix, who lived with him for almost two years, became a family member and also starred in a play created by Roni, "Contact". His widow Tommy told me that "the play was a kind of farewell gift for Ronnie LeBrix and a tribute to him."

"This Brix is ​​a wonder. He met Ronnie in stages that his daily routine becomes nursing, and the connection with him inspired the creation of the play, which describes what it is like when someone else takes care of you and what resolutions the treatment comes to. Roni, who was very curious, talked to Brix a lot to understand Dan "A Filipino. The Philippines loves to help so much that Israelis hate being suckers. They are willing to be there quietly for you, without ego. The trick of the play is to turn the bowl - it took these Israelis, who sometimes neglect parents in hospitals, and put them as caregivers in the Philippines. If in the country the Philippines becomes transparent, in the reverse of the play - the Israelis become transparent in the Philippines. "

"Roni and I met when we were 14 at Thelma Yellin High School," Shafrir recalled. "At first I studied music, but I felt like a fish out of water, and I did not have the patience to sit on my ass and practice piano. I really liked to dance and play. If there was a dance then I would go to it. After a third semester I moved to theater. "Very frightened," I'll take you to audition. 'He opened a door for me, where I was terribly confused. He led me to audition and sat in it. He always knew how to be in the right places, already at that age. He knew how to speak his jargon. He was really a kind of prodigy. We connected a lot. I was a hard nut.Adolescence was very difficult for me, even in front of my parents, I ran away from home and came back. And he accepted me and did not give up on me, made sure for example that I would go with him and his girlfriend together to the movie. He just picked me up like a wet chick. "

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"I just miss Ronny."

Erez Shafrir (Photo: Wheatley Friedland)

At the end of high school, they also crossed paths at the IDF Theater, to which Pinkovich moved after serving in the Air Force, and after graduation they studied together in Nissan Nativ's studio. Pinkovich later founded the Concrete Theater in Ramat Gan, and wrote and directed the fringe show "Frodo" in which Shafrir participated and became a cult. After the show aired, it became clear that Pinkowitz had multiple sclerosis. "In this show, Roni was creative and ingenious," says Shafrir. "It could be that he was under a lot of stress during rehearsals and maybe it came at a price. The first symptoms of the disease happened right when the show came up: a slight loss of sensation in the fingers. Like circumcision like that. "At first he lost sensation with one hand, then with both hands, and began to feel such fixation. This disease is incurable. There are mild solutions but no cure."

The disease was not foreign to Shafrir - his mother contracted it when she was in her 30s.

"It became clear to Ronnie that he had multiple sclerosis and I was also a bit of his partner. He could talk to me about anything, including the hidden fears. I was not only a friend but also a half doctor, because I knew the disease from my mother, all the symptoms and brutal steroid treatments and treatments. "My mother always said, 'This disease is the' monkey of medicine ', because it jumps on your back and you are not ready for it. Over the years, when he has multiple sclerosis, Ronny has created wonderful things and started an amazing family. But the hourglass has run out."

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"He was a charmer."

Roni Pinkovich in rehearsals for the play "Warm Family" of the Beit Lessin Theater (Photo: Idan Golko, courtesy of the Beit Lessin Theater)

"He was under a lot of stress and maybe it came at a price." Roni Pinkovich (Photo: Maariv, Raanan Cohen)

"His physical problems swelled, the table was full, and drug treatment," says Shafrir. "During the Corona period, when we were not working, Ronny sat at home a lot with himself. He is so analytical in his perception, soared up and looked from the bird's eye view of his life, what he had accomplished and done. He made a very brave, heroic, and most correct decision for him."

Put an end to his life in Switzerland.

"Yes. We knew the possibility of Switzerland from cases like the mother of a good friend of ours, who had terminal cancer and went there. He talked to me not long before it was over. When he told me that, I was shocked. I was silent. You do not catch on at such a moment. You Speeches. It could be that he broke it into some joke after that. I did not think for a moment that I would stand in front of this pit, that he so announces it to me. From there, a parting process began because there is no choice, Him, all the family and friends to the point where we could accompany him. "

Was there a stage where you wanted to try to convince him to think about it one more time or not to do it?

"It's not a matter of saying 'maybe not' to him. I talked to him a lot, and asked him to explain things to me to the end, as much as possible. "

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"I almost called him one day. For a second I forgot he was not with us."

Roni Pinkovich and his daughters (Photo: Maariv, Yossi Aloni)

Two weeks before the euthanasia trip to Switzerland, Roni Pinkovich held a farewell party. What did you tell him there?

"We had a very exciting ending. At the party, and after it, I told him for the first time, face to face, that I love him. Suddenly you are facing a breakup, it is a process that goes against our nature, but it brought us to a spiritual count.

" "I had to renew the choreography of the play 'Otz Li Gutz Li', which we did together at the Cameri," says Shafrir. "Do you understand what it was? I replace him with 'Otz Li Gutz Li' because he is in a difficult situation, reunited with the choreography, directing and set design, finishing the rehearsals in the evening, then going to Ronny, and talking to him. I told him, I'm not talking to you about the Cameri, it's a waste of time, let's talk about other things. "

You turned down an offer to replace Ronnie after his death in his role in the Grape Center's "Contact" show, which is heavily influenced by his life story, which he wrote and directed and starred in while in a wheelchair alongside his daughter Ian and his caregiver Brix. The one who enters the position in the end is Yoram Toledano.

"I couldn't. I had a hard time. Ronny sat in the show motionless. And I'm so upset, and my wound is so fresh, that if I had to sit motionless, and not cry, it would be like torture for me. Kind of suffering. To sit in his chair Where he was until not many months ago, with all my acquaintance with him, and with all the very fresh parting, and not reacting, not talking and not even crying? I said, I'm too close, I can not now. In a year - fun. But I came to see The show, and I wept bitterly with the audience. "

In all the performances of "Contact" after his death, Ian breaks down in tears.

"Yes. I said to myself, enough. I cried so much. Now I want to try to recover from the grief. And I'm very happy that Beit Lessin, Tzipi Pines and Avishai Milstein allow this platform to unveil the play with great actors some from other provinces. We are very "Curious about this play, it has huge potential. Roni wrote a great play."

"You know," Shafrir adds, "I almost called him one day. I came to call him to talk to him and for a second I forgot he was not with us. I can ride a bike, and say to myself, it's a holiday eve, I'll talk to Roni. It's very strange. Think how much It happened fast. And it did not accompany a man who was already lying in bed and it. The man was coherent and environmentally friendly and so fun. It's inconceivable and it will take time. Again, as time goes on it will fade and the longing will get directions where you take it. And he gave me so much Gifts, Roni, that I have a great side to the road. "

"I was not able to sit in his chair in his place in the show 'Contact', without moving. It would be like torture for me."

Roni Pinkovich and his daughter Ian Yoel Pinkovich in the play "Contact" (Photo: courtesy of the photographers)

"When he had multiple sclerosis, Ronny created wonderful things and started an amazing family."

Roni Pinkovich with his wife Tommy and their daughters (Photo: courtesy of the family)

Shafrir, 57, has participated in many productions over the years as an actor, director and choreographer. In addition to studying at Thelma Yellin and Nissan Nativ, he also studied modern ballet for three years at the dance studio of the Bat Dor troupe and at the dance school of the Bikuri Ha'itim Center. He has signed, among other things, as a director on the Khan Theater plays "Oh God" and "The Door Opposite" and the Meditech play "Moff and Morris"; And as an actor in the Khan Theater plays "The 12th Night" in the role of Sir Toby Belch for which he won the Israeli Theater Award in 2010 in the supporting actor category (one of quite a few awards he picked up throughout his life), and also starred in "The Imaginary Patient", "Marriage", " Antigone "and" Doubtful Anarchist "; And on screen he starred, among other things, in the series "His Honor" in the role of an inn.

You are highly regarded but not so well known outside the industry, and nine years ago you were described by Globes as "the best theater actor in the country that most of the public does not know."

"What an exaggeration on their part to write this. What interests me in life is first of all to be healthy. Second thing, to do what I love to do, which is to play and also to direct. I am in a wonderful place like the Khan Theater that gives me the platform and there is a band and it is like family I have a wonderful family at home, my partner and my daughter. I do not lack for anything. I am very happy and happy for my part. I am not interested in questions like - I am yes or not famous? Yes or not appreciated? How appreciated? The main thing is to enjoy. And the main thing is health, really. "

And behind the statement "the main thing about health" also hides Shafrir's not simple personal medical history. In the early 2000s he underwent two kidney transplant surgeries, the first in South Africa failed, and the second in Turkey succeeded. "In the IDF tests, they took down my profile and wanted to release me from the army because I had protein in my urine. It turned out to be chronic kidney failure. But I wanted to enlist, I appealed, I was promoted to profile 45, Jobnik, and I was accepted to the IDF Theater, where I met Dror Keren.

“From that moment on, I began to follow my chronic kidney disease. At the age of 40 I understood from my doctor that the kidneys do not carry. He recommended either doing dialysis or going for a transplant. I chose to do a transplant in Johannesburg. She was not technically successful. I returned to Israel mourning and covered in body, I did dialysis for about half a year, and in 2004 I went for another transplant in Turkey.

"At that time I was supposed to be rehearsing for a play that Ronny directed at Beit Lessin, 'Lost in Yonkers.' Tzipi Pines told me 'Waiting for you.' "Then I did not continue in the chamber and went to the khan. Since my condition is fine, I take pills but live and kick."

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Roni Pinkovich, his wife, daughters and good friend Erez Shafrir at the farewell party held for Pinkovich before he chose to end his life (Photo: Courtesy of the family, Adi Ezra)

"At the farewell party I told him for the first time, face to face, that I loved him."

Pinkovich and Shafrir at the farewell party two weeks before the trip to Switzerland (Photo: Courtesy of the family, Adi Ezra)

As a kidney transplant recipient who is in a risk group, did you enter a more anxious place in the days of the Corona?

"The truth is that I did not mix with anxiety. I did a lot of things. Of course I wanted to get vaccinated among the first, like Tetla. And by the way, I was sick in Corona. ".

What do you think about players who oppose getting vaccinated and are opposed to being tested even at the cost of being fired from their jobs?

"It mostly scared me. These are people you look at like cluster bombs. You put on a mask and you back off. You're scared. You're also scared of them."

How did the fact that you also had difficult medical dealings affect your relationship with Roni?

"I have news for you - we had tons of humor. When I went for a transplant, Roni said to me, 'Hoppa, you opened a running competition, do you want to overtake me and get to the hospital before me?' . . .

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Source: walla

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