Just performed The Gate at the Simta Theater in Tel Aviv with full lighting and sound. I’d forgotten what a joy it is to work in a proper theater space rather than a classroom, with full lighting instead of fluorescents, sweet clean acoustics, and the audience in the dark!
There is nothing like the space and magical cushioning of gentle colorful lighting supporting the story. The words “Once upon a time” cast their own spell, but when a lighting change emerges together with the words, it’s like the audience can actually see the magic take place before their eyes. Everything has more time, pauses can be held and raised rather than rushed, and all emotions and ideas float upwards.
After having performed the show some 20 times in front of groups in classrooms or hotel halls, it feels like it’s cheating to do it in a theater!
It’s not a case of it being “easier” with lighting and darkness and sound, it’s more like swimming with floats, or swimming with the flow instead of against.
The same goes for the story itself. When I perform the show in a plain classroom, the story lives as prose. When it’s in a theater, it becomes poetry. When it’s in a classroom, the story is literal, specific, focusing on Jews and Arabs in the Galilee. When it’s in a theater, the imagery and metaphors can also take wing, pulling hearts beyond the specific and into the universal and personal.
There is no doubt that the show fulfils its potential in a theater.
And I don’t know what to do with that conclusion! Push to sell the show only in theaters from now on (and thus double its costs?) or keep playing both types of space..? I wonder…