Israeli theater director, Bothmer gymnast, and language designer Ofer Sagie is trying to perform «Faust» in Israel for the first time in 66 years.
How did «Faust» come to Israel?
«Faust, Part One» was last performed in Hebrew in 1956 in the great Habima Theater. During the lockdowns, an era of artistic activity began for me. I have always continued my artistic work, and in 2020 called for an art street festival in Tel Aviv. My impulse at that time was to continue the conversation – a time when all cultural activity was shut down. I believe that theatre is a conversation that can’t be suppressed. When a very well-known Israeli actor, Doron Tavori, got involved with the project, more and more artists joined in. We did ‹instant theatre› in one place for six weeks. In May 2021, I started working on shortening «Faust, Part One» which took me nine months. After that, we realized as a group that it wouldn’t work without «Faust, Part Two» – what starts in the prologue must come to an end. So, I made a three-hour version out of both parts – and that was very, very difficult.
Where is your work at now?
We continued working on the text as a team – Doron Tavori is Mephistopheles. When we were ready for a premiere and had been invited to a small festival in Jerusalem in August, problems suddenly started cropping up, and the festival cancelled us because they didn’t have the money after all. The premiere in October also had to be postponed. Now, Tel Aviv Art Museum has invited us to play on its small stage and I’m busy finding sponsorship. I’m convinced that «Faust» is the right piece for our unclear present. We no longer know what is true or false – and that is exactly what comes out in the encounter between Faust and Mephistopheles. We encounter evil in «Faust».
What is your role in this production?
In addition to the work on the text, my roles are to act, produce, and direct – whereby I believe that the direction is transformed through an anthroposophical impulse. The director isn’t one to give instructions, but rather functions as a mirror for the actors. I never say what to ‹do›. Theater only exists in the moment, and the performers must be free.
Translation Monika Werner