The 2011 Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre – concluding its 32nd year
“A joyful atmosphere and a wealth of content”
The streets of Acco and its knights’ halls were filled with a huge crowd who came to view an assortment of theatre shows and varied events and to stroll between the walls of the Old City. The competition winners have been announced: “MelakhMayim” (Salt/Water) and “Saddam Hussein”
These lines are being written at the close of the 2011 Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre, with its festive closing ceremony. During the four days of the Festival, celebrating its 32nd year, a huge crowd filled the city and viewed the various shows and events, proving yet again the importance of the Acco Festival as a leading artistic event in the world of Israeli theatre, an event that allows artists to develop and create original, daring, and alternative theatre.
The 2011 Acco Festival, produced and managed by the Acco Municipality, was organized under the artistic direction of Smadar Yaaron and Moni Yosef for the third year and emphasizing the uniqueness of alternative theatre and the values of audacity and inventiveness in artistic creation. During the closing ceremony, Moni Yosef said, “For us, all of you have won all the prizes. We all try to create together a different, “alive and kicking,” alternative festival that doesn’t have to account to anyone and to reach the viscera of Israeli society. The Festival this year was complex, offered an inventive theatrical language, and contained an amazing combination of young and veteran creators of new works.” Smadar Yaaron added that this year’s Festival was outstanding for its characteristics of group work and dynamics, and called for a widening of the effect of process-based works in a setting that enables this, such as the city of Acco.
The Festival’s General Director, Albert Ben-Shloosh, had this to say: The 2011 Acco Festival was one of the most successful in its 32 years of existence, both from the aspect of its organization and also for the wealth of content that was presented to the public. The pleasant and joyful atmosphere was even more strongly present against the background of Gilad Shalit’s release and return home [not far from here – ed.], such that there was a sense of many people coming together to celebrate that occasion along with the Acco Festival. The city’s inhabitants and visitors from all over the country were united in the city’s holiday and the splendid weather, yielding an entirely sense of festivity during the entire four days.” Ben-Shloosh added that “according to estimates, some 160,000 people came to the various events this year. Also, the attendance at performances in the Festival halls reached a satisfying 90% of capacity.”
During the closing ceremony, Ben-Shloosh noted that “this is a wonderful opportunity to share with you all: that this morning the Festival’s website posted an announcement to creative artists welcoming their submissions for the 33rd Acco Festival.”
During the Festival’s four days this year, it mounted over 500 performances of 68 different shows and events from Israel and abroad: theatre shows, street theatre, clowning, acrobatics, interactive performance, installations, music concerts, video-art, an artisans’ faire, and panels on societal and cultural issues.
In the framework of the Festival’s open-air and street theatre events, under the direction of Jacky Bachar (head of the Rosh Hutsot Group), the city’s streets and alleyways were the site of 54 different shows that provided a wide and rich variety of events, beginning with the accessible and cheery, and extending to the fringe, biting, clever, and even subversive.
Acco Mayor Shimon Lankri says that “the Acco Festival, held this year in an atmosphere of joy upon the return home of Gilad Shalit, was a great success – as can testify the 160 thousand visitors who came to the Festival events during the Intermediate Days of the Succot holiday. Everyone who came to Acco this year saw the visible change to the city’s development and its spectacular beauty. The variegated Festival presented a wide assortment of shows and open-air performances from Israel and abroad, that integrated well with the alleyways and the natural treasures of our charming city that has been preserved over thousands of years. Likewise, the Acco Festival enables the large crowd that fills the city’s streets to be exposed to a unique and unforgettable theatrical experience. Acco will continue to lead and promote cultural life, and during the Intermediate Days of the Passover holiday Acco will host, as befitting this city of Mediterranean cultures, a new festival: the “Vocaliza” with choirs from countries around the Mediterranean.”
Lankry thanked the creators and actors, the Festival’s organizers and at their head, General Director Albert Ben-Shloosh, for this greatest cultural celebration in Israel.
Also on the occasion of the Festival’s closing ceremony, the mayor added that the Artistic Co-Directors Smadar Yaaron and Moni Yosef will be staying on for an additional year, their fourth in this role.
The Winners of the 2011 Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre
Membership of the Judges’ Panel:
Chairman of the Panel: Prof. Dan Orian, Chairman of the Theatre and Dance Department, Western Galilee Academic College
Members of the Panel: Soheil Haddad, actor; Martin Mohilever, actor and director; Irit Frank, Manager of Ha-Simta Theatre; and Udi Davidson, Head of the Theatre Arts studies program, Kabri High School, Western Galilee
The Decisions of the Judges’ Panel
First Prize: 20,000 NIS for the Best Play in the Competition – goes to: “Melakh/Mayim”
The majority of the Panel chose “Melakh/Mayim” (Salt/Water) as deserving of the Best Play award. The reasons are best expressed as written in the manifest that accompanied the play: “The work ‘Melakh/Mayim’ examins the reciprocal relationship between body movement and the spoken word in a working process that creates an associative stage syntax… all the content was created entirely from the content of five young women’s lives…the play contains a mixture of disturbing topics…a work that is a local stream-of-consciousness, within a meta-aware observing…”
Speaking on behalf of the Judges’ Panel, Irit Frank noted, “The Judges’ Panel thanks the mayor, Mr. Shimon Lankri, for complying with our request to add a further ten thousand shekels to the sum of the prizes. This allowed us to grant an additional award and made our difficult choice easier.”
Mayor’s Prize: 10,000 NIS for the Runner-Up Best Play in the Competition – goes to: “Saddam Hussein – a Mystery Play”
“The show ‘Saddam Hussein’ was chosen by the Judges’ Panel as deserving of the Mayor’s Prize. The show is based on a play that is poetic, political, sharp, and amusing. ‘Saddam Hussein’ presents theatrical language in a harmonious range of poetic styles, outspoken prose, live music, and movement. Along with a unity among the ensemble, the show allows for individual expression of its performers.”
Honorable Mention for the Most Promising Creative Artist – goes to: Bashar Murkus
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen director Bashar Murkus as the most promising creative artist of the 2011 Acco Festival, for his premiere work, “The Bilibilibel” – that integrates humor, grotesquerie, and pain, by means of a rich and biting theatrical language and theatrical instruments corresponding with various arts in a fruitful and entertaining manner.”
The Acco Festival’s most promising creative artist also is awarded a prize offered by the “Sadnaot Habama ¬– Stage Center” for professional workshops in the performing arts. The prize entitles the winner to attend one of 26 courses offered at the Center, that was founded in 2002 with the objective of fostering professional training in the performing arts, to serve as a home base and creative laboratory, and to enrich participants’ artistic “tool boxes.”
Honorable Mention for the Best Acting – goes to the actors in the three main roles of the show “Mein Kampf”: Roy Assaf, Shlomi Bertonov, and Lupo Bercovici
The same remarks hold for all three actors: “The Judges’ Panel has chosen to award this prize to these three actors, who each succeeded in creating a believable, convincing, and moving character.”
Honorable Mention for Guiding Actors in a Play – goes to: Gil Alon
“The Judges’ Panel grants to Gil Alon this award for his work in advising the cast of the show “Mein Kampf” – for meticulous work, greatly nuanced, that leads to the realization of humane, complex, and emotionally affecting characters.”
A Distinctive Achievement award for a Breakthrough in Creating a Theatrical Language – goes to: “Explosive – War Tourism”
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant this award to creators Naomi Yoeli and Galia Yoeli for their work, “Explosive – War Tourism” as a coherent and autonomous viewing experience that allows an in-depth focus on small details and from them explicating for the viewer a world view that moves from the individual to the societal, aided by live technology of the Internet as a source of accessible information, granting the work a great sense of authenticity.”
Honorable Mention for Text in a Play – goes to: Yonatan Levy
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant this award to Yonatan Levy for his work, “Saddam Hussein – a Mystery Play.” This is a poetic, political, incisive, and amusing play that integrates varied and conflicting styles, as it were distancing the testimony to create an outspoken satire.”
Honorable Mention for Ensemble Work – goes to: “Melakh/Mayim”
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant this award to the cast of performers-creators for their ensemble work in “Melakh/Mayim” constructing a language integrating associative text that creates a composite on stage preserving the creators’ individuality.”
Honorable Mention for Music Arranging for a show – goes to: Yonatan Levy and Yiftach Kadan
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant this award to Yonatan Levy and Yiftach Kadan for their work on the show “Saddam Hussein” – for music writing and arranging, exactingly orchestrated with humor and great talent.”
Honorable Mention for Movement Design for a show – goes to: Emanuella Amichai
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant the award for Movement Design to Emanuella Amichai for “The Neighbors’ Grief is Always Keener,” in which she succeeded in designing an original and surprising period piece.”
Honorable Mention for Lighting Design for a show – goes to: Adi Shimrony
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant the award for Lighting Design to Adi Shimrony for her work on the show “Heart” – in which lighting is used as a dramatic theatrical element functioning actively in the play.
Honorable Mention for Costume Design for a show – goes to: Amalya Nimrod and Yaarit Eliyaho
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant the award for Costume Design to Amalya Nimrod and Yaarit Eliyaho for their work on “The Neighbors’ Grief is Always Keener,” that creates a refreshing visual dialogue with the period of the play.
Honorable Mention for Space Design in a show, goes to: Majdlah Khori
“The Judges’ Panel has chosen to grant the award for Space Design to Majdlah Khori for her work on the show “Ha-Bilibilibel” in which she achieved effects with a minimalistic, poetic, and exact language, creating an emotional and precise visual experience.
Chairman, Board of Directors of the Acco Festival: Shimon Lankri, Mayor of Acco
Vice-Chairman, Festival Board of Directors: David Harari, CEO, Old Acre Development Company
Festival General Director and Producer-in-Chief: Albert Ben-Shloosh
Festival Artistic Directors: Smadar Yaaron & Moni Yosef
Festival Producer: Eti Spitzer
Production Manager: Reut Diai
Artistic Committee: Claudio Edelberg, Yuval Meskin, Sinay Peter
Assistant to the Artistic Directors: Tuvia Dikman
Artistic Director, Open-Air Events and Street Theatre: Jacky Bachar
Executive Producer, Open-Air Events and Street Theatre: Pnina Saks
Technical Producer: Maor Lazar
Location Manager: Askari Khalil
Members of the Steering Committee: Lizu Ohayon, Albert Ben-Shloosh,
Aviva Gilad, Atty. Adham Jamal, Atty. Maya Delgo Gilboa, Itzik Weingarten,
Louis Hajj, Atty. Micha Yinon, Rakefet Levi, Prof. Shimon Levy, Reuven Weitzman,
CPA; Zeev Noiman, Dr. Janan Farej Fallah, Oded Kotler, Dr. Diti Ronen,
Farji Shemesh, Kobi Shimoni
The Acco Festival of Alternative Theatre is produced and managed by the Municipality of Acco in cooperation with the Old Acco Development Company, and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sport – Cultural Administration, The Galilee Development Authority, Mifal Ha-Payis – Israel National Lottery, and the Payis Council for Culture and the Arts
The Acco Festival’s website:
For further details:
Dana Segal 050 4576495
Harel Moradi, Integrated Marketing Communications 03-6090906