The Child behind the Eyes

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The Monodrama The Child Behind the Eyes tells the story of a mother of a Down’s syndrome child on the night before he goes to school.

Not everyone is willing to make an effort and see Yotam beyond the special facial features. There are those who cross to the other side of the street, and those who are repelled by “Thelma’s mongoloid son”.

It is early morning and Thelma is standing by the window. Her thoughts go back to her shock at the child’s birth, reactions from family and friends and Yotam’s beautiful and touching relationship with his great- grandmother Erika, who had just died. While doing that, her husband David Jogs his own fears, encircles the building till dawn breaks.

In the nursery, six years old Yotam is asleep, peaceful and innocent. He knows that he is different than other children, yet he knows how much he resembles them. On his easel the child behind the eyes paints a multicolored world.

The characters

Female:1 Male:0 Total:1


Arabic, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Rumanian, Spanish



1987 Haifa Municipal Theatre director: Itzik Weingarten

More in Israel

With actress ASSI ESHED. The play was running on Israeli stage for 11 years - more than 1000 performances.

1990 - Produced in Rome, Italy with actress Claudia Della Seta.
1991 - Produced in the USA by "Westbeth Theater" in New York with actress Amy Brentano. Directed by Rina Yerushalmi.
1991 - Summer running of the NY production at Nantucket Theater in Massachusetts.
1997 - The Jewish Women Playwright Festival in Los Angeles, with actress Lisa Barnes.
1997 - The "Divadle U Hasicu" Theater in Prague with actress Dasha Blahova. Directed by Olga Struskova.
1998 - Theatre Festival of the European Regions, Czech Republic.
2000 - Tour of the Czech production - Oslo and Bergen, Norway.
2001 - Play Reading: Arabic Theatre “RABAB” in the Galilee with actress Nasrin Faa'oor.
2004 - Play reading at the International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, Romania, with actress Ophelia Popii.
2005 - Resita Theatre in Romania, with actress Malina Petri. Special performance at the "Goldfaden Jewish Festival" in Iasi.
2005 - The State Theatre of Turkey, Ankara, with actress Fatma Oney, directed by Kemal Besar.
2006 - M'rar Theatre Galille,in Arabic: with actress Amal Murkos. Directed by Adnan Trabshi.
2006- Nowy Theatre in Lodz, Jolanta Jackowska-Czop – actress. Directed by Karolina Szymczyk.
2006 - First prize in Wroclaw "one Actor" Festival - Poland.
2007 - Golden Medal at the International solo performance in Belgrad, Serbia.
2007 - Romania, Teatrul Nottara Bucarest, Actress- Gabriela Popescu. Translated and directed by Liana Ceterchi.
2008 - The Big Trophy in Gala Star - the International Monodrama festival in Bacau - Romania, March 2008.
2009 - Timisuara Theatre in Romania, with actress Malina Petri.
2011 – Amsterdam, Holland with Dutch actress Loes Hegger.


England THE TIMES, MAY 1988 "... This was one of those rare occasions where writing and acting simply transfer you into someone else's life and experience. Deeply felt, deeply unsentimental. It was enough to move anyone to tears. And did." GUARDIAN, MAY 1988 "A touchingly written monologue. No politics here, but a reminder that mothers - whatever their political, religious or national persuasion - love their sons. A message worth hearing." BBC LONDON, JULY 1988 "...beautifully written, very moving, and perceptive." GUARDIAN, JANUARY 1990 "The merit of Nava Semel's searching script lies less in what it tells you than in what it makes you feel. Sustained by a series of delicate, powerful images, it has a poetic dimension that offers insights into the world of the child, through the mother." A LETTER, July 1988 "...there are still a few remaining tears blurring my eyesight- for truly, I've never listened to a lovelier story." A LETTER, JULY 1988 "This is the most moving and poignant play that I've ever heard." A LETTER FROM MAZE HILL SCHOOL, MAY 1988 "...So seldom have I seen or heard, mentally handicapped children presented with such sensitivity." THE DOWN'S SYNDROME ASSOCIATION, LONDON, June 1988 "...A splendid play...the families were deeply moved by the sensitive and honest nature of it." Scotland JEWISH GAZETTE, January 1990 "...An unforgettable emotional experience". Belgium RTBF BRUSSELS, September 1989 "...I was very impressed by the simple truth and beauty of the play, and how the emotion, always present, was given with reserve... very moving and full of poetry, gives to this story something more, like an opening to another dimension." Italy IL TEMPO, MAY 1990 "...A world rich with feelings and experiences. we never sense any self pity. It contains deep and piercing pain, moving us with its aspiration for hope." Ireland IRISH TIMES, January 1990 "...Breaking the Down's Syndrome taboo...a play about love". IRISH TIMES, January 1990 "...The combined forces of theme and treatment are is a rare experience." Israel HA'HARETZ MORNING PAPER, APRIL 1987 "... The play succeeds in doing what true theatre must always do; making us confront our fears, pain and anguish... the value of the play is its reliability and its restrain. A great achievement of the playwright!" KOLBO, JUNE 1987 "...Nava Semel had build a story clean of sentimentalism or off-beat tones... when the audience leave they are different from the way they were when they went in." AL HAMISHMAR, JUNE 1987 "...A humanistic play that broaden the heart." YEDIOT AHRONOT DAILY PAPER, APRIL 1987 "...Wisely written... highly recommended!" PROFESSOR S. REIZNER- THE HEAD OF THE INFANT DEPARTMENT AT BEILINSON HOSPITAL, JULY 1987 "...It was a most moving evening for me. I truly hope that the important message will eventually help to change the attitude towards the disabled in our society." HA'IR TEL- AVIV, INTERVIEW WITH NAVA SEMEL, July 1988 "Q: How do you accept international acclaim? A: Every good thing that happens in my life surprises me. Basically, I'm always prepared for the limit of good things. I'm happy when the world suddenly smiles to me, for it is often cloudy."

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