© 2019 by Yagil Eliraz

The Central Youth Theater

     Established in 1978, The Central Youth Theater of the Jerusalem Municipality is the focal point for theatrical activities for adolescents from all sectors of the city's population. 

I was interested in working with adolescents who come from variety of socio-economical backgrounds, and use the theater as a powerful device for creating an micro equal collaborative community. I chose to adapt and direct Andorra, especially with a group of young people from various backgrounds, due to the extreme hatred mentality that sadly prevails in Israel: hatred because of religious difference, sexual preference, country of origin, class, race and much more.

 

     In his 1961 play Andorra, Swiss dramatist Max Frisch dissects the mechanism of the hatred of the "other", the "foreigner" and the "different."  The play revolves around Andri, a young Jewish boy, who survived a genocide committed by "The Blacks" when he was a child.  Ken, an Andorran teacher and a man of conscience, saved Andri from the massacre and adopted him as a child.

 

     Andorra is, in Frisch words, "a pacifist, small and beloved country," that embraced the Jewish Andri as one of its own. Soon after the play starts, however, there's a threat that "The Blacks" might invade Andorra, and kill anybody who is Jewish or who's helping Jews.  Then Andorra, "white as snow", humane and tolerant, starts to bear its viper teeth, and the townspeople, one by one violently start to demand Andri's extradition. Andri's adopting father reveals the truth: Andri is not Jewish; in fact, he is his own son, born out of wedlock.  But nobody in town believes him…

 

                Nurit Katzir Jerusalem Theater Center, 2011