Spiro Ark

Registered Charity No 1070926

GILA ALMAGOR 1ST LADY OF THE ISRAEL THEATRE

Dates: 22nd January (in Hebrew)
23rd January (in English)
Both Events will take place in Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue - Norrice Lea, N2.

Theatre is one of the most indicative means of assessing a country; successes and failures, aspirations, contemporary issues, attitudes towards historical events... The viewers have the opportunity of rethinking their opinions after being exposed to the different arguments presented.

Israel is a country ridden with problems, conflicts of every aspect, creating practical and moral dilemmas. Such national and individual dilemmas are difficult to solve. Often, however, when such issues are presented on stage in a vivid and powerful way it helps the viewer to reassess previous attitude and points of view.

The Israeli theatre today is a vibrant medium and the percentage of theatre goers is particularly high. It is a long way away from the amateur productions of the end of the 19th century and even from the first steps of Habima National Theatre which was created in Moscow in 1917 moved to Israel in 1926.

Apart from the major theatres in Israel today which are creating imaginative productions of world classics and Israeli original drama there are also very dynamic local and experimental theatres renowned for their excellent standard like the Jerusalem Haan, Haifa and Be'er Sheva Theatres and many others.

Another interesting development in the Israeli Theatre is the large number of special interest theatres: Gesher -- with Russian immigrants actors, Inbal -- a dance theatre which bases its chorography on Yemenite and motifs of other ethnic groups, the Orna Porat national children's theatre to name but a few.

The forthcoming visit of Gila Almagor to The Spiro Ark / Tzavta is a golden opportunity to take a glimpse at the special quality of the Israeli Theatre and its protagonists.

Gila is a writer, a theatre and film actress and a patron of a charity whose aim it is to fulfil the greatest desires of children suffering from cancer. For all these pursuits she has received a large number of both Israeli and International awards.

Gila Almagor's father was killed by an Arab sniper four months before she was born. Both her parents have escaped the horrors of Nazi reddened Europe and arrived individually in Israel, met and married.

It is not surprising therefore that growing up without a father and with a traumatized mother haunted by awful memories Gila had internalized the impact of the Shoah on the survivors and the psychological effect it had on 2nd and 3rd generations. Gila's book which was made into an award winning film "The Summer of Avia" has the most profound description of these themes. In the film, Gila playes brilliantly the role of her mother whose memories of destroyed lives in Europe on the one hand and the lack of sympathy and understanding by Israelis towards survivors destroyed both mother's and daughter's lives.

As a youth, Gila was sent to be educated in, a youth village near Netanya, to escape a harsh existence of home life with no father and an unstable mother. Her second book entitled "Under the Domim Tree" describes an encounter between a group of Israeli born and children who survived the Holocaust as they share life in an Israeli youth village.

The two evenings with Gila under the umbrella of Spiro Ark's Tzavta Department and the Israeli Business Club will reveal the story of her life and audience will be treated to her reading of parts of her books.

A short film which encapsulate her life achievements and which was screened at the time Gila has received the highest national award -- the Israel Prize will be shown too.

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