Never Ever Ever | Touring Boston

Israeli Stage’s Never Ever Ever | Touring Boston November 5th through December 1st

In November/December 2014, Israeli Stage will be touring Sivan Ben Yishai’s touching play Never Ever Ever in the Greater Boston Area. In this moving one-man play, Yoni provides the audience an experience of what it’s like to be an outsider, feel different, be differently-abled, and yet at the same time whole. 

Never Ever Ever is the winner of four Assitej Awards in 2013 and is based on a book by Tzipi Gon Gross.

November 5th at 7PM | Boston University Hillel

November 10th at 7:30PM | NewBridge on the Charles

November 17th at 7:30PM | Tufts Hillel

November 20th at 12PM | Emerson College

November 24th at 7PM | Northeastern University 

December 1st at 7PM | Brandeis University 

Category Uncategorized

Oh, God – audience feedback

Audience reactions to Oh, God: 

Victoria Seydel Belmont of Riverside, RI: I heard about the Israel Stage production of Oh God when actress Maureen Keiller & Producing Artistic director Guy Ben-Aharon appeared on WGBH Open Studio with Jared Bowen. The performance Oh God was not only intimate and engaging but also surprisingly believable…no small feat when God shows up for a therapy session.  Maureen Keiller and Will Lyman portray their roles with realistic passion and humor while putting forth thought provoking subject matter… a new perspective of God.  If man was created in the image of God,  perhaps God is more human than we had previously considered.  The opportunity for audience talk-back allowed for further food for thought.  I will be keeping  Israeli Stage on my radar.  Kudos to actors, director, and playwright.

Stephanie Clayman of Arlington, MA: What a spectacular play. Nothing pleases me more than when an artist – writer, director, designer, actor – surprises me and takes things in a direction I never would have thought of. I adore this funny, thoughtful, moving play and am so happy to have seen it. Congratulations.

Bruce Lynn of Lexington MA: Ruth and I made it to last night’s performance of Oh, God at BU.  It was a terrific performance on the part of both actors.   Will Lyman was incredible.  The role of Ella fit Maureen’s talents very well, too.  The comment about seeing a full stage production  vs. what we saw last night — I couldn’t imagine the effect being any more powerful by adding a desk or a sofa, a door and a window, or a “Leor,” for that matter. Like so many American Jews, I was totally unfamiliar with Anat Gov before last night.  Now, I’m thinking, maybe she is something like the “Israeli Wendy Wasserstein,” very funny, very poignant, and dead at much too young an age.

Bob Murphy of Dartmouth, NH: We did not know what to expect when we walked into “Oh God” at Dartmouth College.  What we got was thoroughly entertaining; it was a humorous, thought-provoking, completely professional presentation.  The spare informal atmosphere only added to the authenticity and emphasized the meaning of the dialogue.  Will Lyman and Maureen Keiller were convincing as God and Ella – Will’s voice, in particular, is what we all imagine God to actually sound like.  It was a wonderful evening!

Dena Ressler of Arlington, MA: Oh, God was incredible: at times I felt like I was at a Tanakh or Talumd shiur, other times as if peeking into the office of a talented therapist.  I laughed nonstop until Job, where I cried nonstop. I think what really made this play come alive was the acting and of course, behind the scenes, the direction.  I think it was some of the best acting I have ever seen.  The theme and how it was delivered was so immediate and relevant.  Because of Lyman and Keiller. My goodness, good delivery gives such new and powerful meaning to words. What a special evening.  Thank you to the three of you!

Anna Stathopoulos of Boston University: Oh God is a brilliant take on our personal relationship with God. This witty and heart-warming play, unlike any other, captivates the audience with its unique approach to God’s story. You’ll be left enlightened and hoping God comes in for just one more session with Ella.
Category Uncategorized

OH GOD | Back by Popular Demand!

Back By Popular Demand | Israeli Stage’s OH GOD | Launching First National Tour!

In October 2014, Israeli Stage will be bringing back its most popular play, Anat Gov’s hilarious and poignant Oh God to the Greater Boston area, the DC area and Manhattan. In this witty, poignant and touching play, a psychotherapist named Ella (Maureen Keiller*), single mother of an autistic child, gets a visit from a new, desperate patient, God (Will Lyman*).

WGBH | Open Studio with Jared Bowen: Producing Artistic Director Guy Ben-Aharon (“What the show offers is that God is the little gifts that we give one another and I think that’s a beautiful message“) and Actress Maureen Keiller (“The audiences are so smart! It’s so amazing how engaged they are; it’s really great“) went on air to talk about Oh God, Anat Gov and what Israeli Stage means to them. Segment begins at 5m45 at WGBH.org

WBUR: “The play revolves around Ella, a psychologist and single mother, who receives God as a new, floundering patient intent on having just one session. The concept sounds either existential or twee at first. But Ben-Aharon helped the two seasoned actors mold to tweak the English translation to suit, which in turn helped the piece as performed by Lyman and Keiller feel intimate. The pairing proved so successful and the show so resonant that it went on tour to more than a dozen locations…” read more at artery.wbur.org

The Washington Post: “It isn’t every day that an American stage director has the notion of producing an Israeli play and taking it on the road. But Guy Ben-Aharon isn’t every American stage director. Tired of hearing laments about the myriad ways that plays aren’t reaching the public, Ben-Aharon decided he would breach convention and fashion his own unorthodox circuit…” read more at WashingtonPost.com

Israel National News: “Guy Ben-Aharon, director and producer for Israeli Stage, is bringing one of their plays on East Coast tour to universities and synagogues. Audiences are invited to stay and talk after the play, and for Ben-Aharon, the play’s drawing power for the young is what interests him most…” read more at IsraelNationalNews.com

EdgeBoston Feature: “Do theatre goers know that throughout the year they can listen to professional staged readings of the world’s most vibrant, contemporary international drama?…” read more at EdgeBoston.com

EdgeBoston Review:  “Lyman imbues every inch of God with vulnerability and humanity, giving us a much more complicated view of The Deity and expressing the humanist sentiment that the best parts of our personalities are brought out not through our talents but through our flaws…” read more at EdgeBoston.com

Oct 14th at 7PM | Lesley University

Oct 20th at 8PM | Babson College

Oct 21st at 7PM | Temple Emanuel Newton

Oct 22nd at 7PM | University of Maryland

Oct 23rd at 7PM | New York University

October 24th at 7PM | Dartmouth College

Oct 25th at 8PM | Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University

October 26th at 7PM | Temple Beth-Elohim in Wellesley

October 27th at 7PM | Temple Beth-Zion of Brookline

December 10th at 10AM | Orlando, Florida 

Category 2014-15 Season, Press

Boston’s treasure!

A letter from our friend and loyal audience member, Uriel Meshoulam:

I recently saw Never Ever Ever – a remarkable play [by Sivan Ben Yishai] that moves and inspires, and admirably performed by Jordan Ahnquist who plays several characters in almost a magical manner. 

Israeli Stage never disappoints! My wife and I are trying to make sure that we stay in town just so we don’t miss any of Israeli Stage’s performances. In the past few years we have enjoyed many excellent plays and performances. If you like your theater pure, the Israeli Stage is uniquely satisfying. Not only in that they perform plays written by contemporary Israeli playwrights, but mostly in the way they perform them – actors stand on stage with no sets, minimum props, and text in hand. The end result is never less than excellent drama that firmly stands on the text of the play.

Recent highlights for us were Hard Love by Motti Lerner and Hanoch Levin’s The Whore from Ohio. Levin is an incredible playwright and I so look forward to seeing Make My Heart Flutter, (which I happened to see in Israel). 

I would like to applaud Guy Ben-Aharon. The Israeli Stage is an incredible project, primarily because of its refreshing approach to presenting drama to its audience. We should all feel gratitude and admiration for this work. I am amazed by Guy’s ability to build up such a superb enterprise from scratch, and thanks to his Board and Staff for keeping it so successful for several years now.

Boston’s treasure.

Category Audience reviews

2014-15 Season Announcement Press Release

Israeli Stage Announces 2014-2015 Season

Its Fifth Anniversary Season
Featuring its First Full Theatrical Production and Stage
Readings of Three New Israeli Plays at the Goethe Institut 

[BOSTON, MA] – Israeli Stage, sharing the diversity and vitality of Israeli culture through theatre, proudly announces 2014-2015, its fifth anniversary season, featuring its first full theatrical production: the North American premiere of Ulysses on Bottles by Gilad Evron, winner of Best Israeli Play (2012), presented in partnership with ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage. This new drama features award-winning actors Jeremiah Kissel, Will Lyman, and Karen MacDonald. Performances will take place April 9-25, 2015 in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center (559 Washington Street) in Boston’s theatre district. Tickets range from $25-49 and may be purchased by visiting artsemerson.org.

“The growth of Israeli Stage has been tremendous,” says Guy Ben-Aharon, Director and Producing Artistic Director of Israeli Stage. “From an experiment gauging interest in Israeli drama in 2010, we have produced 50-some programs at twenty institutions across New England. We couldn’t be prouder entering this new phase solidifying Israeli Stage within the greater Boston’s cultural landscape; collaborating with talented artists as Karen MacDonald, Will Lyman, and Jeremiah Kissel; and to partner with a world-class institution.”

Additionally, the new season will feature three staged readings of Israeli plays Never Ever Ever, written by Sivan Ben-Yishai (September 14, 2014); Make My Heart Flutter, written by the ‘father of Israeli drama’ Hanoch Levin (November 2, 2014); and Games in the Back Yard, written by Edna Mazya (February 15, 2015). Readings will take place at the Goethe-Institut (170 Beacon Street) in Boston’s Back Bay. 

“I first read Ulysses on Bottles on the bus on my iPhone,” says Guy Ben-Aharon, Director and Producing Artistic Director, Israeli Stage. “I never read an entire play digitally, but I simply couldn’t wait to get to a printer or even a computer. It is one of the most beautiful scripts I have read coming out of Israel. The struggles of what it means to have freedom, enable freedom, and prevent freedom are interwoven masterfully into this poetic play that brings together a Jewish-Israeli lawyer, an Arab-Israeli literature teacher, and an Israeli intelligence officer whose paths would otherwise not cross.”

“It’s only fitting,” says Rob Orchard, Founder and Executive Director of ArtsEmerson, “that Emerson College alumnus Guy Ben-Aharon’s young company Israeli Stage enjoys its first full production here at ArtsEmerson. We’re proud of his hard work showcasing Israeli plays in Boston, and happy to join together for Ulysses on Bottles this spring.”

“Since being part the first reading of this wonderful play,” says actor Will Lyman, “I’m very excited to be involved with it in the first full production of this great young company, dedicated to bringing different world views onto our American stage. I remember the sentiment that art is not intended to reinforce our complacencies, but to provide us with new opportunities to connect with the larger world around us.”

“An important part of creating value for the cultural landscape of Boston,” says David Dower, Director of Artistic Programs, ArtsEmerson, “is creating opportunities for Boston’s artists and companies to be part of our “World on Stage” programming. I look forward to to supporting this important milestone for Israeli Stage and the great company of actors Guy has assembled for the production.”

“I have had the experience of performing and also seeing theatre in Israel,” says Karen MacDonald, award-winning actor, “and it was powerful. The culture of the theatre is deeply engrained in the country; the playwrights deal with moral, political, human questions, both unique to their own experience and pertinent to the world at large.” 

Ulysses on Bottles by Gilad Evron: An Israeli-Arab literature teacher nicknamed Ulysses builds a raft made of bottles to carry books and sail to the shores of Gaza. With the naiveté of a madman, he believes classical literature about bigger-than-life subjects is vital, especially for Gazans. He insists on bringing them not French literature, that he says “dances,” nor American literature that is “preoccupied with itself,” but Russian literature that is a breeze that rises higher than the kites they fly on the Gazan shore. Ulysses on Bottles explores the ways Israelis react to Gaza: the collisions of the personal and the political, morality and ambition. A poignant and critical play about people living in separate and different realities where life of privilege is pitted against life of deprivation, it raises profound questions about society’s fragile values, morality, humanism and freedom.

Never Ever Ever by Sivan Ben-Yishai: Yoni (Jordan Ahnquist*) runs away from school, from home, from himself. He runs away the moment he’s confronted with the words disabled or dyslexic. In this moving one-man play, Ben-Yishai provides the audience an experience of what it’s like to feel like an outsider, feeling different, being differently-abled, yet, at the same time whole. 

Make My Heart Flutter by Hanoch Levin: Love and its crushing disappointments are at the center of Hanoch Levin’s Make My Heart Flutter, a romantic comedy without the romance. Full of laughter and irony, the play touchingly portrays our desires, and our potentially missing out on life, without even knowing it.

Games in the Back Yard by Edna Mazya: In the summer of 1988, a horrifying rape was perpetrated on the Kibbutz Shomrat in northern Israel, shaking the entire country. Seven 17-year-old boys repeatedly raped a fourteen-year-old girl, abusing her both physically and mentally.

 

Category 2014-15 Season, Press