For the 10th straight year, Jaffa’s Gesher festival launched the Gesher festival, with an opening night performance of Oedipus Rex on Thursday May 18. Gesher Theater bridges cultures and languages, and the Gesher festival is an annual which brings some of the greatest international performers to Israel. On the opening evening of the 2017 festival, guests were able to enjoy a classical Greek play performed in Russian with Hebrew subtitles, a paradigmatic example of the international, intercultural and interlingual focus of Gesher Theater.
At the press conference on Thursday afternoon, Lena Keindlin, General Director of Gesher Theater, thanked all of those who had worked hard to produce such a prestigious festival. She noted in particular the collaboration with Vakhtangov Theater, which for the fourth year has come from Moscow to participate in the festival. Evgeniy Arye, the Artistic Director of the Gesher Theater explained that the performances during the festival aimed to remind patrons that daily life can be challenging, whether one lives in Moscow, or Tel Aviv.
Maria Revyakina, Director of the Golden Mask Festival, and Kirill Krok, Director of Vakhtangov Theater, were in attendance as well. As part of their partnership, the Gesher Festival incorporates performances from the Golden Mask Festival in Russia, ensuring that Israeli audiences get to see the best that Russia has to offer.
Following the opening reception, including a live musical performance, the sold-out crowd filled the theater. Lina Keindlin welcomed the guests and reiterated her appreciation for those who had cooperated to produce the festival, including the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, the Vakhtangov Theater and the Greek and Russian Embassies. Yosi Sharabi, the Director of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, then offered his own blessings to the Gesher Theater and the festival.
The Ambassadors of Greece and Russia attended the opening performance. Both countries collaborated on the project, with the Oedipus play having been showcased first in Greece on a millennia-old Greek stage. Judging by the enthusiastic response of the audience, we can hope for many more intercultural cooperation programs in the future.
The Gesher Festival runs from May 18 until June 3. The program includes plays in Arabic, English, Hebrew, and Russian, as well as discussions with artists, interactive performances and workshops. The full schedule can be seen here:
Steven Aiello, founder of the Debate for Peace MUN program (debateforpeace.wordpress.com).