Scenography Commission








International Meeting of Stage Designers

Tel Aviv , Israel — May 2006

Friday 26 May

Arrival of some delegates, Entertainment

Saturday 27 May

Arrival of some delegates, Theatre performance.

Sunday 28 May

9-17 Costume workgroup + Lighting workgroup: Costume/Light/Movement, A workshop with Israeli dancers, Cameri 4 auditorium, Cameri Theatre

15-17 History & Theory meeting.

17-19 Hanging of Exhibition, Foyer, Cameri Theatre

19 Reception and opening of exhibitions

20:30 Theatre show

Monday 29 May

9-19 Costume/Light/Movement, Cameri 4 small teams work will be scheduled in different time slots

9-15 Small groups tours and visits of the theatre lighting museum

11-13 Set Designers and Teachers: Meeting with stage design students. Cameri theatre Foyer

13-14 History & Theory commission meeting (location to be announced)

16-18 Visit to The Palmach Meuseum.

20:30 Theatre show, Cameri Theatre

Tuesday 30 May

9-10:30 Scenography commission meeting (click for meeting notes)

10-14 Visits to Theatre lighting Museum

Workshop activities may be scheduled.

17 Israeli Designers exhibition Shalom Tower


20:30 Workshop performance

Wednesday 31 May

10 Symposium:Documenting Scenography:History and Practice

Theatre Museology,Documentation and Reconstruction, Tel Aviv University

14-15 Lunch Break

15-16.30 Symposium: Documenting Scenography: History and Practice

Theatre Museology, Documentation and Reconstruction, Tel Aviv University

17-18 Scenography commission meeting (click for meeting notes)

20:30 Theatre performance

Thursday 1 June

Jerusalem tour

Friday-Saturday 2-3 June

Jewish Holiday of Shavuot

Tour to the north of Israel


Opening Ceremony

We started the OISTAT meeting with a three day workshop at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv. Everyone speaks English so it was very easy to make it all happen.

The Cameri is a brand new center, much like Lincoln Center, that houses four legitimate theatres, one opera house and a modern art museum. We were exploring the use of LED lights for theatre.

(click image for more Cameri Theater pictures)

Led Light Displays
LEDs are the lights used for Time Square digital billboards. They are small and very intense yet generate no heat, so they are very interesting for costume use.

(click images to see more of the LED displays)

Tel Aviv

It was an extraordinary time and the Israeli people were more than kind to us in meeting our every need.

(click image for more Tel Aviv pictures)

Costume Workshop

(click image for more Costume Workshop pictures)

Costume designers, lighting designers, choreographers and dancers worked together.

The choreographers came to the collaboration with brutal and sexual dances and, of course, the costume designers had brought lyrical fabric that was light and airy, moved well and took the light beautifully.

There was some clashing of interests, but in the end we created 13 very exciting dance theatre pieces. When they showed us their pieces initially, they all looked and felt the same with black heavy movement. After they were designed, each had its own particular feel and look. They were all so impressed that they wanted to open a design program for dancers. They were amazed by the results and the unique design that each Scenography Team created.

Jersulam Tour

We spent only a day in the holy city of Jerusalem seeing only the high spots I'm afraid, but it is a very impressive place with religion piled on top of religion.

My favorite church was the Ethiopian compound near the church where the last supper was meant to be held. It was molded like an African village and the tall dark Coptic Monks still stand guard. It was jarring to feel the old testament come to life, and also the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

(click image for more Jersulam Tour pictures)

North of Israel
Later we took a trip to the north of Israel.   We had a fantastic night in Nazareth with Israeli Arabs a.k.a. Palestinians. These were living in a compound consisting of several apartments around one central kitchen in the old Arab area of Nazareth in a beautiful, but neglected mansion. They had dreams and ideals and they were all so brave as artists passionately working for their cause of peace and freedom. They were working on a puppet show that was meant to have different meanings at different levels. Interestingly enough, one young lady was Canadian from Palestinian parents in Toronto. She was learning Arabic and said that there are so few foreigners trying to learn Arabic, that they assumed she was just stupid. One of the young men was about to go to design a production of Lorca's "Blood Wedding" for a theatre in Ramallah. Interesting choice. We are hoping to encourage the Palestinians to have a booth at the Prague Quadrennial in June of 2007 representing themselves as a new country.
Caesarea, Acre and Beit She'an

We spent a day in the ruins of the Roman town of Caesarea, once the capital of Israel and that too was impressive. It's site along the Mediterranean Sea makes it extremely scenic, but most impressive was the huge swimming pool that was at the center of Herod's palace. This Herod of Biblical fame knew how to live. Why not conduct business at the "pool?" It also sports the remains of a beautiful Roman theatre overlooking the sea. There was another Roman theatre that was also significant in Beit She'an, another Roman town that was particularly a spa. It housed multiple baths of various temperatures, a gymnasium, etc. They have found several grooming tools there including a instrument for removing ear wax that looked a lot like a tiny spoon! After Beit She'an we went to the Crusader city of Acre (Akko) and wandered in the medieval alley's thinking of the weird Knights Templar and all of their projects. When one considers that there were usually no more than 10 at each station, they built amazing things. We also went to Tiberius that is now quite a modern city on the Sea of Gallilee and had a fantastic brunch overlooking the water. The exotic brunch was at a four-star hotel run by Scottish missionaries at one time. I suppose that it still may be. Their idea was to treat every guest equally and spread the gospel as people were well fed and content.



Beit She'an

The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea was seen from the sea of an air-conditioned car. I went with Wei-Wen from China and Kazue from Japan. We had so many laughs and such fun. My goodness it is dead! It looks like another planet. The atmosphere is so heavy that you can hardly see the mountains of Jordan just over the small distance. The water is oily and so salty that the taste is pungent, almost burning the tongue, yuk! While in the area, we went down to see Masada, where the Jews committed mass suicide rather than to be captured by the Roman Army. It is a large mesa with a city on the top. How they built it in those early times is a miracle.   They had to quarry the stone and somehow get it to the top of a mountain to build their great city. It is quite amazing to contemplate the will of men who fight all obstacles to create the impossible. It was so hot that when the car door was opened, it felt like a blast from a hair dryer. Why would they want to build a town there? Strategic position, yes, but get real, it's 110 degrees already in early summer!

We went to Haifa , a northern port and a city that looks much like San Francisco . The centerpiece of the city is the head temple for the Ba'hai religion that was started in Persia . All behind the Temple and heading straight up a wall of the mountain is a formal garden tended by 100 gardeners. It is truly awe inspiring in it's scope. Somehow, I thought Ba'hai was an American hippie development for peace on earth, not a 100 year old religion started in Persia . When I told my neighbor, who's been walking my dog in my absence, about Haifa and the Ba'hai Temple, he said that when he came back from Turkey in early May, there were hundreds of Ba'hai refugees who had just been expelled from Persia/Iran. I am really curious about this religion and if it really is all about Peace among all peoples why would they be being expelled from Iran?

"Prussian Fairy Tale" performed at Halifa University (click image for more)


Closing Remarks

In general Israel is not what I expected. Tel Aviv is a laid back party town with bars along the beach open 24 hours a day. The beautiful white sand beach stretches the entire length of the city, giving it a slightly Miami Beach feel. There is virtually no evidence of the army anywhere, and there are only the same kind of bag checkers as at major events and museums in the US . The city is alive with culture and also has a restored old medieval town of Jaffa at the southern end of the beach. Jaffa is meant to be the port where Johah set off for Tarshish, only to be swallowed by a whale. The old historic town now has a population of subsidized housing for artists. What a lovely idea to help artists. The culture here is well supported and the theatre we've seen has been excellent, but a bit on the depressing side.

The weather was hot during the day, but not too grueling with temperatures in the high 80s, and cooling down a bit towards balmy in the evenings. We learned to stroll rather than stride and then touring about in the heat was OK.

Israel Scenography Commission Presentations

2 Lectures on Russian theater dealing with historical costume design and contemporary lighting design.