Tmu-Na Theatre / Holon, Dead Hours

Review in Issue 8-4 | Winter 1996

Dead Hours was the latest offering from Nava Zuckerman, an Israeli director with an idiosyncratic approach to devised theatre. The work was loosely based on a true story: a relationship between two very different women sharing the same prison cell in Israel – for which read Kiss of the Spiderwoman or any number of protest plays of the 80s. Nevertheless, they managed to breathe new life into old content with remarkable verve and power. Sivan Horesh, a trained dancer, played the part of a woman convicted of murdering her abusive husband whilst Nicole Rourke portrayed a political activist held without trial for smuggling weapons with her Palestinian boyfriend. It was to the production's credit that political didacticism was mostly avoided and instead the play became a physical and poetic evocation of the women's inner lives. Horesh and Rourke extracted very particular mannerisms (walks, talks and looks) which helped contribute to their convincing and fully rounded character sketches. Sometimes the method did, however, draw too much attention to itself and certain mannerisms appeared foisted on the characters rather than organic to them. Like a lot of devised theatre it occasionally fell into the trap of over-indulgence and amateurism – a queasy example being the 'mad' scene when Horesh wandered about in a sheet, chanting Ophelia-like. The corroboration of the audience – we were served up plates of foul mash and bitter coffee which the actors then consumed – and the effective use of simple props was inspired and contributed to an ultimately satisfying and, at times, profound evening's entertainment.

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This article in the magazine

TT 8-4
Issue 8-4
p. 21