Happy Ending

Posted filed under .


Comedy
Fantasy
Musical
Subject:
Cancer

Text in:

he

“To be or not to be. That is not the question. The question is how to be”.
A new patient, Talia Roth, a theatre star in her late forties, arrives at an oncology clinic to begin a series of treatments in order to prolong her life.
The encounter with the other women patients at the hospital’s ward deepens her understanding of what awaits her. This knowledge makes her rethink how she would want to end her life. Her surprising decisions rock the system…

The characters

Female:5 Male:2 Total:7
(In addition, there’s a troupe of 5)

Translations

Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Polish

Productions

Premierre

2011 Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv director: Edna Mazya
Production page


Productions Abroad

France , Germany , Hungary
2014 Halle, Germany.  Neues Theater Halle, Director: Kalma Streun
2014 Budapest, Hungary. Director: Krisztin Gergye. Opening: July
2015 Paris, France. Director: Guila Braoude.

Critics

[From Yedioth Ahronoth, 28.06.2011] A Matter of Life and Death Shai Bar-Ya’akov:
Anat Gov’s new play, Happy End, is perhaps defined as musical fantasy, but it is hard not to feel that it touches, acutely and bravely, on reality. Gov makes no attempt to conceal the suffering, the pain, and the fear of the place that she has evidently come to know well in recent years, the oncology day care ward in a hospital somewhere in Israel. But she knows how to cloak the terror with hefty doses of humor and also a few musical and dance scenes that justify the definition of ‘fantasy’. The four women patients onstage represent four different characters with four approaches to the disease: one clutches onto her faith and her perfect functioning as a mother and homemaker (the charming Roni Shoval), one who clings to superstition and views cancer as a sort of opportunity to reform her life (the impressive Sarit Vino-Elad), and one who views cancer as another bitter adversary in a duel that must be won, for there is no other alternative (the amazing Zaharira Harifai, who wins tumultuous applause for her song, and rightly so). The fourth is the new patient on the ward, Talia, a famous actress who is not yet fifty, played by Anat Waxman with great elegance and charm. Her choice for dealing with the disease is extremely surprising and is only revealed in the second half of the play, when she decides that she is not prepared to continue with treatment and wants to meet death face to face when she is still at her best and not when her body is full of holes, cut, and poisoned by chemotherapy. “Who’ll come to see a play about a terminal patient?” asks Yossi, the ward’s wigmaker, when Talia tries to tell him that she has actually come to the ward to work on a new part for the theater. And indeed, the heavier and more repellent the subject matter becomes, the humor that Gov produces from it preserves a kind of humanity that makes the entire situation bearable. But despite the layers of defense of humor and fantasy, the subject is a serious one, and Gov certainly does not avoid the difficulty of dealing with the serious issues. Director Edna Mazya has directed the play with pace and flow on the flexible stage designed by Orna Smorgonsky. The show scenes are well orchestrated with Shlomi Shaban’s beautiful music and songs. The whole cast does an excellent job, including Ruthy Asarsay as the caring and smiling nurse, Amalia, and Yiftach Klein as Dr. Katz, who starts off antipathetic and ends up sensitive and wise. Above all, the one who gives this play its heart is Anat Waxman who sensitively and intelligently gives expression to the full range of emotions of the character she plays. All in all it seems that Gov and her partners have managed to turn a play about a ward of terminal patients into a real blockbuster.
[From Haaretz, 28.06.2011] Death: Do It Yourself Michael Handelzalts Nowhere in this production’s program does it say that Anat Gov was diagnosed with cancer, underwent therapy that everyone knows can’t have been easy, and that happily she is with us today. I think that this is important information for every theatergoer who comes to see this play (also because he knows about in any case – there have been newspaper interviews). It is important for me to stress this information in order to state that precisely because this is about the playwright’s incredibly powerful personal experience, which in any event obliges us to admire her, and because she has written a courageous play as macabre as I like it, she gives no quarter, is not sentimental, does not conceal fears, looks death right in the eye and laughs (because she has no doubts about who’s going to have the last laugh, and until then she will live, experience, and laugh, even painfully). To live is to die a little. In bringing her fascinating work to fruition she was joined by the director, the musical director, the designer, and two actors (Elichai Levitt in the roles of Yossi the wigmaker and Cancer, two character demanding skill and elegance, and Yiftach Klein as the Doctor, who has to be an equally powerful partner to the lead actress, which is no mean feat). But this is a women’s play about women (yes, for only they are sufficiently sensitive and courageous to engage with subjects like this) and consequently this is the actresses’ evening: Ruth Asarsay as the nurse, Amalia, Roni Shoval as the religious cancer patient, Emuna, in a sensitive and charming performance, Sarit Vino-Elad who makes a great effort not to steal the show and almost doesn’t succeed, and two (apart from Gov) I regard most highly: Anat Waxman as the actress who has just heard that she is sick and who, with chilling courage, chooses not to undergo treatment, and Zaharira Harifai, who it seems has never been so full of life as in this role of a cancer patient. Shlomi Shaban is a brilliant songwriter, but I’d pass on the first two songs (especially the operation) that display a great deal of bad taste (for the attention of the director). I softened up during the cancer musical number with Sarit Vino-Elad even though I’d pass on it as well. But it was all worth it for Zaharira’s song of triumph over her cancer. I believe she’ll make its life a misery.

Posted by & filed under .