The curtain goes up late in Israel. Performances start at 8.30p.m. or 9p.m. On a Saturday this is considered so early by the partygoers of Tel Aviv that it is dubbed ‘the matinée’. Intervals are often dropped, too. Audiences go in for a short, sharp hit and are then released into the night.
We could learn a thing or two from Israeli theatre. I don’t just mean start times. I am talking about the performances on stage. Fresh and interesting, stylish and slick, urgent and passionate — the dance and theatre coming out of this country, barely 50 years old, is breathtaking.
I travelled to the Galilee, to disused garages in rundown neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv, to an Arab–Israeli theatre in Jaffa, to a new children’s theatre in Holon.