A biographical performance with script and direction by Michael Teplitski about the creator of the Habima National Theatre of Israel. The performance was co-produced by the Habima Theater and Malenki Theater.
It is an unsimple story of the first Hebrew theatre and its creator starting from the semi-professional beginnings in Białystok, the development of the theatre under the care of Konstanty Stanisławski and Yevgeny Vakhtangov in Moscow, through a tour in Europe and the USA, to Palestine, based on Nachum Cemach’s personal correspondence with his wife, protocols and memories of Cemach’s co-workers. It is also a moving story of the eponymous character, who did not accept the changing historical circumstances.
The performance premiered in December 2017. The chamber Malenki Theater, run by Teplitsky, is a laureate of many international theatre festivals and presents its works throughout Europe.
Nachum Dawid Cemach, after his father’s death in 1909, moved to Białystok with his family, where he taught Hebrew. He started there a theatre group named Ha-bima ha-iwrit (heb. Hebrew Stage), which performed the play Musar naar ra (heb. Morality of an Angry Teenager; author: I. Barkan). The performance was recorded in the history of Jewish theatre as the first play in Hebrew performed in the Russian Empire. In 1912, Cemach, alongside Menachem Gnessin, gathered an amateur group Ha-lahaka ha-dramatit ha-iwrit (heb. Hebrew Drama Stage), that performed Osip Dymov’s play Ha-noded ha-nichi (heb. Eternal Wanderer; dir. I. Bertonov). The play was also performed in 1913 in Vienna, at the XI Zionist Congress. The performance was received by the audience rather coldly, but it received critical acclaim…
Cemach became famous as a recognized director, organizer, actor and a fierce propagator of the Hebrew language revival, of which he tried to restore the Sephardic pronunciation, the closest to the ancient sound. He demanded hard work from his actors, he was also concerned about the high level of the repertoire, so he collaborated with many talented playwrights and translators, who translated plays specifically for the needs of Habima.