Top Israel theater company,the Cameri, cancels Turkey show - The move comes after Israeli embassy in Turkey advises Cameri Theater to cancel performances of the Israeli play "Thrill My Heart", at international theater festival,after it learned that anti-Israel groups planned to disrupt the show and potentially harm the actors.
Published 12:21 22.05.11
Israel's Cameri Theater was forced to cancel two performances in Turkey on Saturday, after the Israeli embassy learned that anti-Israel groups planned to disrupt the show and potentially harm the actors.
Israel's Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy, together with the embassy's senior security officer, advised Cameri Theater's director-general Noam Semel to cancel their performances of the play "Thrill My Heart."
"People say the show must go on, but unfortunately there are circumstances under which the show must end," Semel told Haaretz on Saturday night. "It happens when a theater production can cause bloodshed."
After arriving in Turkey, the Israeli staff learned over the weekend that anti-Israel groups intended on disrupting the show, apparently by protesting, waving flags, throwing objects onto the stage and even physically harming the actors.
"The embassy's security officer told us the situation is very volatile," said lead actor Rami Baruch. A few organizations found out the Cameri Theater was coming to perform and arranged an online campaign, via which they purchased tickets in order to sabotage the show, he said.
"One of the surprising purchases of 35 tickets was by people who never normally attend the theater," said Baruch.
The Cameri Theater was invited to participate in an international theater festival, which is being arranged and hosted by Turkey's national theater in Antalya, after the theater's managers saw a performance of Hanoch Levin's "Thrill My Heart" in Israel. Semel said the Cameri Theater was invited "out of admiration," and that when the Cameri's staff arrived in Turkey, the national theater welcomed them "with fondness and warmth."
But when Semel learned of the potential harm the staff could face if they put on the show, he cancelled the performance and began seeking a way to get his staff back to Israel immediately.
"They have already prepared the stage for the performance, and the lighting, which they set up on their own. But one hour ago the head security officer of the Israeli embassy in Turkey said he could not take responsibility for, nor guarantee, the safety of our people there," said Semel, adding that he was supposed to meet his team in Turkey on Sunday morning, but cancelled his flight.
With the recent strains in Israel's and Turkey's political relationship, this performance was supposed to be a crucial act, above and beyond the artistic significance of the performance, said Semel.
Once close allies, Turkey and Israel have seen their ties deteriorate as the Mideast peace process remains deadlocked and as Turkey has turned increasingly away from the West and toward the Islamic world.
"Thrill My Heart," which stars actors Rami Baruch and Tamar Keenan, and is directed by Udi Ben Moshe, has never before been performed outside of Israel, but has been staged locally more than 500 times.
* Photo - Actors in Cameri Theater's production of 'Thrill My Heart' by Hanoch Levin.
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