Monday, February 25

"Please Touch"

Yesterday evening i went with some Jaffa friends to "Not by bread alone", a performance at the "Please Touch (נא לגעת) theatre in the Jaffa harbour.
"Na Lagaat" (please touch) is a theatre group of 11 blind and deaf actors' assisted by translators in sign and touch language.
"Not by bread alone" is a play consisting of a series of sketches based on the actors' dreams, while bread is being made by them on stage.
Some of the actors, as they were born deaf and later became blind have difficulty expressing themselves through regular speech.
Seeing the play one wonders about limits of expression, and how to overcome those. In that sense the actors are amazing and very courageous.
Some scenes from of the play is visually beautiful, but as a whole, it's a problematic performance, suffering from too much nostalgia and an over-romanticised view of a world that perhaps never was. But then, perhaps it is not fair to judge the play using regular critical tools. However, i don't think the actors are the problem. The visually beautiful scenes are prolonged, thereby loosing some of the magic that was present at the first instance. It's the story, the play itself, that doesn't "work". And that is no fault of the actors, whom i admire.

The words spoken at the end by the company's (an NGO) manager were problematic and not necessary.
The derogatory manner in which he expressed himself about the Jaffa harbour, "which will be saved by the throngs of people coming from Tel Aviv, as right now it is a bunch of "jiffa", were insulting to us, all from Jaffa.
No doubt, it's wonderful if and when dance groups and theatres will use some of the unused warehouses in Jaffa's harbour. Yet Jaffa doesn't need "loads of Tel Avivians" to come and save it and "replace the Jiffa with kultura".

At the theatre there are 2 other special culinary experience options: a restaurant "Blackout", where food is served in complete darkness by blind waiters and a cafe, "Capiche" , where service is carried out by deaf waiters and the guests are given the experience to order trying to use sign language (instructions on the menu and the place mats) , which was fun to try and experience.
The food at "Blackout" is by Nir Zook, which is promising, but we haven't tried it as yet.
The theatre-restaurant complex itself is located in a beautifully renovated harbour warehouse.


Lirun said...

thats funny.. i visited the place last night too..

i am extremely unimpressed by the lets save yaffo attitude.. walking through ajami and past jabaliye over the weekend i found the developer's disneyland quite revolting.. so tacky and corny.. its a shame.. really..

but i do like the idea of yaffo opening up and sharing its flavour with other places.. yaffo to me is one of the few true reminders along our coast that we are in fact part of the middle east and i like that..

the europhile approach in telaviv comes unnaturally to me..

ee said...

Excuse the context, but that's what men in Israel think they are entitled to do. Why shouldn't they, when all the courts give them is a slap on the wrist? - if they're important enough.
And about the colonialist context, I agree with you, of course.
Pessimistic today, with ample cause.

Whisper said...

Drei Dinge braucht der Mann: Blendendes Aussehen, Brutalität und Beschränktheit.

Dorothy Parker

yudit said...

ee, "please touch" relates to the actors' experience of WISHING to be touched and to be able to touch.
They are both blind and deaf. For the majority of them, touch in a special "touch" sign language is the only way they can communicate well.
The performance deals with their dreams.

ee said...

I understood that from the start, but that's where my associations led me. The news, you know...

Lirun said...

i can wait to go there and see a play this time.. i think i might go over the next few weeks..

i lurve yaffo!!

J.P. said...

To have and keep a good view over circumstances all day long, a start with Brinta is advisable.