Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis, Cherry Orchard Festival co-founders and producers, have announced that Israel’s celebrated Gesher Theatre will return to New York City in early October with its two leading productions The Dybbuk and In the Tunnel at The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College (524 West 59 Street). Founded in 1991 in Tel Aviv by director Yevgeny Arye, these Gesher Theatre productions are being presented as part of a North American tour, which includes performances in Toronto and Pittsburgh. Performances are October 3 and 4 for The Dybbuk and October 6 and 7 for In the Tunnel.
The company begins its New York City engagement with a new production inspired by The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds by S. Ansky in a modern version written by Roy Chen, Gesher Theatre chief dramaturge. The Dybbuk, written in 1913 and arguably the most iconic play of the entire canon of Jewish drama, tells the story of a young Hasidic woman who became possessed on the eve of her wedding by the dead spirit of her beloved, a young scholar whom her parents forbade her to marry. The esteemed Gesher Artistic Director Yevgeny Arye directs the cast of 25. There will be performances, October 3 and 4 at 8 PM.
The Dybbuk will be followed by the political satire In the Tunnel, also by Mr. Chen, inspired by the Best Foreign Language Oscar-winning film No Man’s Land by Danis Tanovic. Two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians are trapped in a tunnel dug by Hamas between Gaza and Israel. Enemies snared in a mousetrap, they try to find their way out. Should they kill or save each other? Meanwhile, above ground, a political and media circus is attempting to capture and cover the event. The cast of nine is directed by award-winner Irad Rubenstein. | There will be two performances, October 6 at 8 PM and October 7 at 2 PM.
The Dybbuk and In the Tunnel will be performed in Hebrew with English and Russian supertitles.
These performances had been made possible with the generous support of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.
Premium VIP and Artist Reception tickets, located in the center of the orchestra, are available at $250 and include an exclusive Post-Show Cocktail Reception with the Gesher Theatre cast, featuring hors-d’oeuvres and an open bar. For group sales, please contact the Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation directly 800.349.0021 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Screening and Panel on Dibukim
On Tuesday, October 2, from 7 to 9 pm, the public is invited to a free screening and panel at the New York Public Library, 18 W. 53rd Street, on the making of Dibukim, a 60-minute film by Ram Loevy, winner of the honorable mention at the Haifa International Film Festival, which documents the production process of The Dybbuk and follows the creative team and actors during rehearsals. The screening will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session with director Yevgeny Arye and the cast. With English subtitles. More info & trailer.
Gesher Theatre was founded in 1991 by director Yevgeny Arye and a troupe of Russian actors, who in pursuit of artistic freedom, immigrated to Israel from Moscow. In its early days, the theatre served as one of the few bilingual theatres in the world, staging every play both in Hebrew and in Russian. Today, Gesher Theatre performs solely in Hebrew, while still maintaining its close ties with the Russian culture and heritage.
Over the years and under Arye’s leadership as Artistic Director, the Gesher Theatre has won a place of prominence in the Israeli cultural scene as well as in the international arena. In 27 years of existence, Gesher Theatre has created more than 100 theatre productions which have won numerous awards and appeared on the world’s most prominent stages and festivals. As befits its name, which means “bridge” in Hebrew, Gesher Theatre sees its goal as being a source of integration in Israel multicultural society, promoting new generations of young theatre artists and presenting a repertoire composed of world classics alongside well-known texts from Jewish literature.
The Gesher Theatre was last seen in New York in 2013, where the Cherry Orchard Festival presented the company in The Enemies: A Love Story, based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer and adapted by Roy Chen, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater.
Previous New York productions include: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at BAM (1992); Joshua Sobol’s Village and Adam Resurrected, by Alexander Chervinsky, based on the novel by Yoram Kaniuk, at Lincoln Center Festival (1998); The Dreyfus File by Jean-Claude Grumberg (2001); The Slave and Shosha, based on works by Isaac Bashevis Singer at Lincoln Center Festival (2004); and Momik, based on David Grossman’s novel See: Under Love, at Borough of Manhattan Community College (2008).
Born in Moscow in 1947, Yevgeny Arye studied psychology at the University of Moscow and later studied directing at the Leningrad State Institute of Theatre Music and Cinematography. He directed plays for leading theatres in Moscow and Leningrad. In 1990, he made emigrated to Israel and founded the Gesher Theatre, one of the only bilingual repertoire theatres in the world and has served as its Artistic Director since 1991.
Over the years, he directed over 45 plays at the Gesher Theatre, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Idiot, Adam Resurrected, Tartuffe, The Marriage of Figaro, Momik (based on David Grossman’s See Under: Love), A Pigeon and a Boy, The Dybbuk, I Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha), King David Report, Eugene Onegin in The Bolshoi Theatre, and many others.
He was guest professor several times at prestigious theatre schools, including the Juilliard School and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, as well as at the Faculty of Drama at Tel Aviv University and at the European Drama Institute in Paris. His work has earned him numerous awards and honors, including Man of the Decade in the area of cultural heritage, the Golden Mask Award for directing the Russian production of Enemies: A Love Story at the Sovremennik Theatre in Moscow, the Ministry of Integration Yuri Shtern Prize, an Honorary Doctorate from Bar Ilan University for the Gesher Theatre, a personal Honorary Doctorate from the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University, and the Meir Margalit Prize. He was also awarded the Israel Theatre Prize four times as Director of the Year. In 2017 he received The Israel Emet Prize for Art, Science and Culture.
Photo: Gesher Theatre
Press: Eileen McMahon