VETU LO | 2005

SATIRICAL ISRAELI CABARET UNDER CONSTRUCTION ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ON EARTH


Hateful Arabs * Russian Immigrants Complaining * Orthodox Jews * Loud Gays* Planes Crashing * Molested Minors * Terrorist Attacks * September 11 * Hungry media * The Occupied Territories * Holocaust * Laughs

At a time when even fringe theater is mostly main stream, since it is supported, the event – written and directed by Eyal Weiser “And That’s It”, is sheer subversion. The three actors, among them Ayelet Robinson, dressed in black, on a backdrop of slides from an ostensibly innocent children’s book, pour out words that are a mishmash of commercial and marketing imagery. Survivors of September 11th mix up in their testimony death, a sale at Prada and fat-burning at the gym.  A pedophile tries to convince his audience that he actually did his victim good; a young man pleads for the feeling of significance that the Holocaust can give him, “something that will shake him up.” Under the guise of idiotic Dadaism, the event reflects the horror of our lives: you may say anything and everything and our minds are brainwashed with the lies told us by the Public Relations regime.

 

BRILLIANT IDIOTS

 

The satirical show "And That's It" in Tmuna Theater is a huge leap of talent, like a punch in the face.

 

This indifferent heresy, this virtuosic gymnastic of evil in the satire "And That's It" in the Tmuna Theater, is a huge leap of talent, a brilliant pole vault to the distances of cynicism and nihilism. And all this leads us to see Eyal Weiser, the author, as the next generation, continuing the work of Hanoch Levin and at the same time departing from him. Because Levin was an optimistic creator, who belonged to an ideological generation that believed in the ability to fix things, whereas Weiser reflects with frightening precision an internal catastrophe from which belief is absent.

 

The act of heresy against that which is considered holy, certain or at least accepted, does not excite the three who sit on the stage in black clothes among some red and deliberately kitschy elements, because heresy is all they have. While Hanoch Levin (whose poetic ability, it must be confessed, is greater than that of Weiser) may have been disturbed by the objectification of human beings, Weiser has no humans at all. Instead there is a mishmash imbued with commercial and marketing images.

 

The three actors, who portray nine characters against a background of slides of as-if innocent illustrations from an imaginary children's book created by Roni Melitz, intensify the evil. In the first scene, three survivors of September 11 recall an event which they happened to attend (a fireman, a religious Jew from Brooklyn, and Limor, who just happened to be visiting America). Their memories confuse everything: a hotchpotch of death, a sale at Prada, a gym, a wedding Sabbath, acne, prostitutes and a condom. When Limor describes the way she urged her friend Shiri to escape the fire, her words are those used for burning off fat at the gym: "Push it; Push it; Feel the burn".

 

The language of the witnesses lacks feeling; it is cybernetic and autistic. The psychologist Erich Fromm in the middle of the last century built a model of the necrophiliac personality attracted to the rotting, the disintegrating; one who has autistic behavior such an inability to distinguish living from dead, an inability to relate to people, use of language as manipulation. It is clear, by the way, that the survivors of September 11 are speaking to some television personality, and it later becomes clear that each of them possesses a maniac distortion, in addition to being a survivor. Yehezkel the religious Jew, for instance, seduces his nephew with candy; Joe the fireman becomes horny from jealousy of his friend who died in the Towers, and now fornicates in his memory.

 

Another scene is a monologue by a pedophile who is trying to convince himself that touching a little girl's titties is nothing compared to the terrible things that happen in this country, the terrorist attacks, maiming, war He has Satanic justifications. For instance, the girl's  titties are only the size of a raisin, and how much can you hurt a raisin? Mentioning those to whom fate was cruel brings him to the conclusion that her trauma is in fact miniscule, "a little touchy-feely of the tits" cannot be compared to being blasted to bits with an Arab. The monologue reflects criminal minds, which borrow rational and humanistic justifications for their own purposes. The above character also blames the press for blowing the whole matter up.

And in the next scene, we see a news broadcaster reporting on the rape of a Russian woman, torn between automatic morality and sadistic pleasure, and then a man in love with death who wears an Armani suit in order to look good in a photograph, in case of a terrorist attack in which he will turn into a corpse. He models pure vulgarity, his entire body one lewd movement (Amir Yitzhakov).

 

Dying to have me one

So many "isms" could be attributed to "And That's It", but I choose idiotism, inspired by the Dada movement from the start of the previous century, which undermined the laws of logic; one of its fathers, Tsara, wrote what could be the manifesto of this evening: "That which we need, that which presents some interest, that which is rare because it has the freshness and freedom of the anti-man, is the idiot."

 

The two more provocative scenes of the evening are the one about the Arab within us, and the one dealing with desire for a Holocaust. In "The Arab Within Us" Ayelet Robinson suggests to the audience, with disgust mingled with enlightenment, that they connect with the Arab within them, painting him with blinding white light. But most of the spectators miss out on her comment that this Arab is right next to our digestive system, which causes the speaker to release him from her anus in a trilled and convoluted fart. What is that? Not something that could be taken as a compliment to the leftists empathizing with Arab pain. And also the reflection of our disgust with ourselves, including the racist disgust with Arabs. And why a fart? Because nevertheless this is the necrophiliac spirit (Fromm, as we said), which gets high on what is rotten and stinking.

 

And most difficult of all, the scene in which the gentle and innocent speaker (Nadav Bosem) pleads for a Holocaust of his own: "Something that will shake me up…give me some interest… prod me to live." This is blacker than black, and gets blacker from moment to moment, because Holocaust is hard work, which pumps up the muscles (gym again), and the speaker also does market surveys which prove that there is no one in this country "who isn't dying for one, a Holocaust of his own." And gradually, with proper attention, it turns out that this heresy is a plea   for a life with significance, for an exit from the bubble: "One plus a Holocaust", says the man pleading for a Holocaust, "is a lot more than one with nothing, with no history, with no roots."

An entire evening that breaks down into the meaningless, into one big zero, an active nothingness, lack of interest in life. And the Dada song for which the evening is named is wonderful but unreportable. It is more than troubling when it is unfunny, but that's exactly it. Just that. And nothing else. Hallelujah.

 

Maariv Newspaper | Sarit Fuchs

 

 

BEHIND THE DISASTERS

 

"And That's It" is a disturbing and thought provoking satirical cabaret.

 

"And That's It" is described in the program as a "political satirical cabaret in progress." That is not really an accurate description of the evening, which does not include songs, and whose political message is somewhat surreal and unfocussed. True, the monologues written by Eyal Weiser relate to subjects such as the September 11th attacks, but the treatment is not that of political criticism, but rather a strange analogy between private and public madness. The funniest case is in the scene "The Arab within us," in which a new-age guide to consciousness improvement encourages the audience to touch their "inner Arab", because within each and every one of us, a little suicide bomber is hiding and pleading for expression.

 

Weiser is not afraid to dare in an attempt to reveal dark sides of our twisted attitude to aspects reality, as in Holocaust-related scene, where the character begs for a little holocaust so that his boring life will gain significance. This writing has little respect for the politically correct, but at its best it has surprising anarchistic poetry, which provides a disturbing viewpoint on our attitude to disasters. Perhaps behind the shock and terror, Weiser hints, there is another layer, of curiosity, attraction and even horniness. Thus, the radio broadcaster who begins her monologue with an inability to read a news item about rape, finishes by coming (double meaning intended) to be addicted to the difficult experience.

 

The excellent actors, Ayelet Robinson, Amir Yitzhakov and Nadav Bosem, imbue the long and convoluted texts with a flowing theatrical reality. With minimalism and excellent mime, they manage to transform a series of monologues into an enjoyable and original evening of disturbing and thought-provoking fringe theater. Not for the self righteous.

 

Yediot Achronot | Shay Bar Yaakov

 

 

THIS TRAGIC COMIC STUFF

 

Somewhere in the fall of 1944, Winston Churchill produced the immortal line: "It all depends on the level of the production." I don't know about the British, but in the Holy Land, the difference between a flop and a hit is actually in the level of the writing. The difference between "The Central Show" – a Tel'ad flop you surely don't remember – and between "It's a Wonderful Country" was not in the level of acting or production. Writing, writing and again writing is what we lack here, and now here we have this Jew, Eyal Weiser by name, who for reasons of his own has not so far escaped to America, and from reasons even less well understood has decided to put on a show. I will confess that when I heard about another "satirical cabaret," I decided to phone the editor and report I had fallen ill with spontaneous meningitis. It's something going around now, so they say. But the evil editor would not give up, and I found myself, wishing for a premature death, in the queue going into the auditorium to see "And That's It".

 

What can I say? This is one of the wittiest, cleverest and most delightful shows on our stage today. The evening is made up of monologues by three actors, each more blunt, sophisticated, surreal and wonderful than the previous one. Among these pearls are a public speaker begging everyone present to find "the Arab within us", a lecherous old man who presents a rating/quality table of traumas as moral justification for the sexual harassment of a minor, a news broadcaster who finds relief for her urges in the disaster headlines she reads, and a sort of lackluster "Star is Born"  type who hangs around in crowded places hoping to attain fame as an extra in the background  of  the next terrorist attack.

 

The scenes are written with such humorous wisdom that even the most terrible subjects do not prevent outbursts of laughter, and there's no help for it: there is something very liberating, calming and in particular purifying in healthy laughter at the sound of this tragedy, which so constantly makes our lives a nightmare. In the September 11 scene, it takes a little time to reach the right place, and there is inhibition in the Holocaust scene, where the point does not justify the time and resources necessary to cross it, but the final piece – sentences which really no longer relate to anything and all end with "and that's it" – only supplies further proof of Weiser's variety and talent. The show is permanently defined as "a show in progress", and new scenes are expected to be added all the time. In addition, a guest artist is expected to appear in an encore based on recitation of a children's poem (somehow I have a feeling this will be less innocent than it sounds).

 

Such texts deserve performers of the highest level, and here too we are not disappointed. Nadav Bosem (who can also be seen in "Asses Read Poetry") in the final scene, and Amir Yitzhakov in the scene about the extra in the terrorist attack and the sexual harassment, both prove themselves wonderful comic actors. As for Ayelet Robinson (well remembered from "Cabaret" at the Library Theater), further praise is superfluous. The girl is simply a star, a versatile and extraordinary actress, who displays in the role of announcer comic abilities that are rare in our part of the world. Remember where you first heard that name. The bottom line: a show that must not be missed.

 

Time-Out Magazine | Yoni Cohen-Idov

 

 

THE ARAB WITHIN ME

 

"And That's It" by Eyal Weiser in Tmuna Theater is a series of monologues that break with political correctness, cause bursts of laughter but leave a bad taste in the mouth.

 

Tmuna Theater has warmly adopted Eyal Weiser and what he defines as a political cabaret, "And That's It," which he wrote and directed, straight from the university. Weiser is not afraid to slaughter holy cows, sacred though they may be, and in a text that is far from being politically correct he includes content such as the destruction of the Twin Towers, a New Age workshop to search for the Arab within us, the Holocaust, rape and incest. Most of the text is forcefull, vehement and overwhelms the audience, which, unlike repertory theaters, where most of the audience are elderly, is made up here of a correct mixture of up-to-the-minute Tel-Avivians and an audience of adults with young attitudes.

 

The seemingly heavy subject-matter with which the show deals pass through a humoristic filter, and, through the eyes of characters on the verge of madness, it is given a different angle, revealing them in a new light.

 

The show is made up solely of monologues, and each scene opens with an illustrated slide presenting the subject of the monologue. At times, three monologues on the same topic are played out in parallel; thus, for example, the scene on the Twin Towers attack is told from three angles: a north Tel-Aviv stewardess who went shopping that morning with her up‑to‑the minute girlfriend; a fireman who describes the chain of events, from the attack up to his marriage with the wife of his dead friend; and an old American Jew who lost his brother in the terrorist attack. These three tragi-comic figures are entertaining and cause bursts of laughter, but leave the audience thoughtful and with a bad taste in the mouth.

 

The outstanding scene, which by itself makes the evening worth seeing, is "The Arab Within Us." Ayelet Robinson, with marvelous comic timing and no limits of "do's and don'ts on stage," plays a guide in an awareness workshop, who brings herself and the audience to a type of catharsis that climaxes with a fart. On the way to finding the little Arab within each and every one of us, Robinson insists on breaking the fourth wall and communicating directly with the audience. Cries of Allah Akbar ("Praise be to Allah,") coming from those present in the audience, with her encouragement are appealing and funny, despite the disturbing and generally irritating act of active audience participation.

Amir Yitzhakov and Nadav Bosem, the other actors in the show, do good work, but after Robinson's impressive monologue it is difficult to surpass the high standard she has set and to stand out. Nonetheless, Yitzhakov definitely should be noted as an actor worth attention, particularly in the character of the Israeli macho, who sexually harasses women without understanding why it's a big deal.

 

Eyal Weiser's text is fluent and precise, but at a certain point there is a let down and a sort of repetition, which tires the audience out. The principle repeats itself and the structure of the monologue is clear: a quiet beginning, then an outburst and madness, catharsis, and finally quiet again. Even so, and despite a certain unripeness, Weiser's talent is evident, and it is intriguing to wait for the next obvious step – an entire show full of dialogues written by him.

 

Ha'aretz Newspaper | Leah Lachmi

 

 

A SATRICIAL POLITICAL REVIEW AND THAT'S IT

 

Do you know that stressful feeling when somebody brushes up close to you in a narrow passage of some pub or other, and for a brief moment contact is made between his testicles and your knee? Strange, isn't it? Both feeling the testicle, but even more so the fact that so many things happen to all of us all the time, but we don't talk about them. Don't mention them. Don't let them out. Eyal Weiser, actor, director and writer – among others in the magazine you're holding right now – at this very moment is putting on "And That's It – a Satirical Cabaret in Progress," a collection of skits he has written, which is now on stage at the Tmuna theater and starting – very quickly - to draw fire.

 

Weiser has taken the Seinfeld doctrine, which demands talking about everything that unmentionable, and used it with taste in order to touch upon social and political issues in Israel and the rest of the world, 2005.

 

The show is minimalistic: three actors on stage, zero scenery, abstract illustrations by Ronnie Melitz in the background, scathing text, in particular what we are not used to hearing, or, more accurately, what we prefer not to hear. The show creates an unpolished, improvisatory feeling, perhaps due to Weiser's intention to keep it a continual work in progress and change. The actors (Nadav Bosem, Amir Yitzhakov, Ayelet Robinson) come clean and put their guts on the table, and that includes everything. They will shake up your dormant cognition and send you soaring between moments of howling laughter and moments of discomfort and embarrassment, until the noise of the creaking wood of one of the chairs will sound loud in the auditorium. It seems that, almost without noticing, Weiser has created something for which we are all thirsty. Something that speaks about the thing itself, which reinvents itself each time. In addition to lovers of the genre and admirers of the director, this show is recommended for anyone who feels he is somehow beginning to fall asleep.

 

360 Degree Magazine | Or Gottleib