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November 10, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I LIFE IN ISRAEL

One in eleven
American women
will develop
breast cancer.

If its found early,
about 90% of them
will survive.

The key to beating breast cancer
is finding it before it spreads. While it's still 90%
curable. With the best chance of saving the breast.
Providence Hospital provides a comprehensive -
Breast Health & Education Service, including quality,
low-dose mammography screening, which
can detect breast cancer before it's life-threatening.
Call one of our three convenient
locations to begin your breast care program today.
And practice it for life.

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The courtyard of the Khan Theatre.

Former Turkish Inn
Hosts Jerusalem Drama

SANDRA COHEN

Special to The Jewish News

T

he Turks established
it as an inn; the
Templers from Ger-
many transformed it into a
beer cellar; then the British
came along and turned it in-
to an ammunition dump.
When the British left, it
became a carpentry shop.
lbday, the Khan (Turkish
for "inn"), is now a theater
which this year celebrates its
20th anniversary. This
Jerusalem landmark has
given birth to a fresh dimen-
sion of cultural entertain-
ment, staging classics by
Ibsen, Chekhov and Moliere,
as well as original produc-
tions by Israelis such as Shai
Agnon and Amos Oz.
In 1967, theater director
Philip. Diskin approached
Thddy Kollek with the idea of
opening a theater. With the
unification of Jerusalem, the
Khan, until then close to the
Israel-Jordan border, was sud-
denly seen as an ideal
location.
The Jerusalem mayor was
enthusiastic. A board of direc-
tors was nominated by the
Jerusalem municipality,
renovation began, and with a
subsidy from the Jerusalem
Foundation and the Ministry
of Education and Culture, the
Khan was in business.
The Khan is a theater like
no other. Its novel character
begins at the arched entrance
of an enchanting courtyard
where one can't help but be
drawn back to a different
time, a time long ago when
merchants with their wares
came in search of a room for
the night. The dome-shaped,
300-seat, dimly lit theater is
singular in its cave-like am-

biance and its original stone
structure captivating in its
authenticity.
The • first row of chairs
almost hugs the stage. Such
proximity to the actors and
their faces, expressions and
movements spurs an intimacy
stimulating total audience in-
volvement in the production.
The stage itself is small,
and the low ceiling poses yet
another problem of lighting;
however, it is the two on-stage
original pillars (supporting
the ceiling) which present the
major difficulty.
In addition, whereas con-
ventional theaters normally
have four stage entrances, the
Khan has only one, ultimate-
ly challenging the improvisa-
tional skills of the set
designer. Artistic director
Amit Gazit meets all these
hurdles with relish. "After
all," he says, "limitations are
the beginning of the creative
process."
With its company of 13 ac-
tors, the Khan has mounted
over 80 productions. "Our
aim," says Gazit, "is to
establish creative theater in
Jerusalem and to give young
actors and playwrights, in-
deed to all those involved in
the creative process of
theater, a chance."
Reflecting on the early
years of theater in Israel, he
notes that, while the 1920s,
30s and 40s were influenced
mainly by the classics, follow-
ing the birth of the State of
Israel, subject matter was
lifted from the daily life of the
period. Today, the fourth
generation of Israeli
playwrights are increasing
the percentage of original
plays from 10 percent to bet-
ween 30-50 percent. And it is
rising constantly. Those per-

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