Written by Ido Bornstein, the plot focuses on five men -- three Jewish, two Arab -- who come together to work on a musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. Gili (Lavi Zytner), the director, envisions the production as a way of bridging the gap between the two races, but while he casts Abed (Mahmoud Mora) as the Arabic Romeo figure, no Israeli Juliet ever shows up despite months of rehearsal.
The play strives to challenge normative modes of masculinity -- one of the men even becomes pregnant -- while also acknowledging the traumas that have shaped these men's lives. In a pivotal monologue, Shahar (Benjamin David Elder) describes how he once had a dog that he trained to be a killer through a process of starvation and isolation. That dog becomes a metaphor for all five men, each of whom has undergone hardships that threaten to close them off from empathy with one another.
The most intriguing relationship in the play is between security guard Nisim (Hai Maor) and Rabbiah (Rami Kashy), an Arab whom he initially handcuffs and beats for not having his ID. In a symbolic gesture that seems part protest, part masochism, Rabbiah continues to wear the handcuffs, even as the two men start to bond over the play, a shared love of mind-altering substances, and racially charged jokes.
Bornstein's script does not adhere to strict realist principles and can be frustrating insofar as the characters' actions sometimes seem to defy logic. Additionally, certain staging choices from director Shlomo Plessner obscure rather than clarify what is going on.
-- Dan Bacalzo