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As if by coincidence, on my way to see 'Cabarecht', at 'Beit Ariela' I passed through

'Habima's grounds. That evening thousands of people had gathered at the entrance
to 'Heichal Hatarbut' (culture hall), waiting for Far Tessi's release show, or as he's
more commonly known recently - "that guy who sings 'Derech Hashalom'".
I've never attended at one of his concerts, but I doubt you could imagine two cultural
events so (culturally) far apart. Tessi's successful hit song uses 'Derech Hashalom'
(Peace Way, a main street in Tel aviv) as part of an anecdote about a spoiled woman
who complains al the time. A sort of current middle eastern take on 'Gara
BeSheinkin' ('She Lives At Sheinkin'), if you will.
On the other hand, for the young group who put on 'Cabarecht', a musical night of
Bertold Brecht's music, the word 'Shalom' (peace) is still the opposite of the word
'war', and war is an unmistakably horrible thing. Especially when the 'Brechtinian'
characters try to abuse it for their own gain.
This is a relatively unknown group of actors and musicians, performing under
directions from director Nofar Barkol, accompanied by Nava Semel. The show
includes about 15 songs and interludes by Brecht. Some Relatively known ones like
'Macky Sachinai', 'Jony vehapiratim' and 'Alabama Song', but mostly lesser known
ones, an admirable decision.
The actors were dressed as characters from the streets of Berlin or small American
towns,1930's, of poor miserable lives, surrounding death's character, encaptivatingly
played by Yossy Toldo.
Also on the stage were pianist Kobi Lilian, cellist Karin Markowich, & Or Sidi on the
oboe.
Itay Shimoni is responsible for the musical arrangements that were not only beautiful,
but intricate and challenging to deliver. Shimoni and the instrumentalists mindfully
avoided obscuring the texts, gave emphasis the words, and allowed the actor-singers
to demonstrate impressive vocal and theatrical abilities. Simply put, I'm talking about
one of the most remarkable musical productions I've seen in recent times.
Brecht is one of my favourite Israeli theatre directors. In recent years he's received
an honourable status on Israeli stages, and specifically at the Cameri Theater, which
entrusted "Hanefesh Hateoma Mesechuan" (The Pure Sole From Sechuan), 'Ma'agal
Hagir HaKavkazy' (The Kavakazian Chalk Circle) and 'Ema Koraz' (Mother Koraz) at
the hands of director Udi Ben Menashe. These productions - Maybe for Ben Moshe's
style or perhaps for The Cameri's affinity for grandiose productions - Included a fair
bit of Pyrotechnics, effects and complex scenarios an backdrops, along with
unpleasantly loud singing.

As a result, more than often the attention was steered away from the Brechtinian text.
Texts which makes the reader/viewer inspect their own values, criticise the
ideological infrastructure upon which their society is based, and question political and
cultural truths often taken for for granted. On top of that, Brecht does not let the
viewer identify with any of the characters on stage, and prevents, almost cruelly, the
catharsis the average viewer is so thirsty for. In that aspect, the Cabarecht crew were
much more faithful to the spirit of Brecht, and presented, as they wrote in their
programme: "The whole magnificence of mans' wretchedness."
However, one could argue that the decision to repeatedly emphasise this
wretchedness, through a gallery of miserable depressed characters, courted
by death, marginalised the much needed political critique that is hidden in
the folds of Brecht's texts.
Thus, for example, financial struggles, women's hardship within a stern
militant capitalistic society, and society's uncaring towards the weak were
incessantly emphasised.
Amongst the bits in which the political and the individual did mix, the
chilling song 'Habalada Al Eshet Hahayal' (The Balad of The Soldier's Wife)
is note worthy. The song demonstrated the extent to which war is
romanticised in the cultural rhetoric, and the extent to which, despite
common liberal declarations, it is motivated by a lust for power.
To close the night Barkol chose to projected on the back wall, line by line,
a song by Brecht about the role of the author and the playwriter. At the
end of which Brecht introduces himself as the last man left in the viewing
hall, after everyone had left, "trying / to no end / to remember".
It was a perfect humble cadence ending this night, as it faithfully presents
the Brechtinian stance - That the desperate and stubborn attempt to
remember, emphasised by it's almost certain failure, is the refusal to slip
in to a comfortable existence, that divides the weak from the strong, the
rich from the poor, and the righchess from the wicked.