Featuring one of our bloggers, Marty Weisel.
My love for performing began when I first learned to walk. I would take a few steps and while everyone was watching I would fake fall, look up at my “audience”, and wait for a reaction. On my 4th birthday, my parents gave me a puppet theater and I would spend hours having the puppets act and sing all of my favorite stories. As I got older, my sisters and I performed full musicals in the living room for my parents and grandparents and I participated in every school play.
Soon after making aliyah, I opened a children’s theater troupe in Maaleh Adumim, and had the pleasure of bringing a love a theater to the next generation. In the first year, the children performed an original musical telling the backstory of the Genie from Aladdin. For many of the children, this was their first experience performing on a stage, and the positive feedback from both the children and their parents encouraged me to continue with the troupe with an even more complicated production the following year. With double the number of children participating, and several neighborhood volunteers, Aliyah the Musical, also an original show, came to life. The story was one that touched the heart of all who were part of the production and all who saw the performances. The best part of working with the children over the two years was seeing the growth in their confidence and their excitement about every aspect of theater.
I was excited to discover that there is an active English-speaking theater community in Jerusalem. From my first experience as an audience member at one of the shows (HMS Pinafore in 2012), I realized that something amazing was happening. Not only was there tremendous energy and talent, but the actors were clearly having the time of their lives! I soon became friends with a few of the actors and was invited to the Davies and Kaufman annual Chanukah party. It only took 30 seconds at the party to feel so much at home in this warm community. There is no other community as unique as the one we have here, with everyone so open and supportive. The more time I spend with the theater community, the more I realize how special it is.
Theater means a lot to me and is an important part of my life. My current project is opening up a Theater Center in Givaat Shaul, with a newly renovated amazing rehearsal space. This venue is versatile with availability for all type and sizes of groups, classes, workshops, and events. Having the opportunity to share the experience of theater as a director with the children’s troupe, and spending time with the Jerusalem English community, I am even more aware of the benefits and enjoyment people of all ages can gain from involvement in theater.