Monday, June 1, 2009

Hanoch Rosenne returns to the stage

The scene is a cemetery. The artist hauls his dusty, stiff self out of a grave, slowly revives himself and goes off to look for a hall and a stage. Thus begins mime artist Hanoch Rosenne’s comeback to performing after ten years of directing. “Speaks for Himself”, his one-man show, premiered in the 2009 Israel Festival on the stage of the Rebecca Crown Hall of the Jerusalem Theatre, May 30th and 31st.

Rosenne (b. 1959, London) and in Israel from the age of 4 months, studied mime with Marcel Marceau’s wife Ella, with Etienne Decroux (Marceau’s teacher) and with Yoram Boker. A verbal man, he has taught mime and spent years directing big productions such as musicals and children’s song contests. With his new show, Rosenne is back to being his “inner self” and to his big love – mime – to expressing himself without words. Different from his early performances is the inclusion of video and visuals, not without loud music and sound effects, and his use of them is brilliant in his timing and in his creation of illusion. Unchanged, however, are his amazing physical stamina and lightness, his ability to hold the audience in the palm of his hand and his warmth and kindness. And, as he shows humanity in its absurdities and weaknesses, he assures you he is right in there together with you. He includes audience members in some of the items.

An interestingly-designed feature was one showing a silent movie, with Rosenne moving in and out of it. In another, a street performer wishing to be in the limelight learns how menacing it can be. The contemporary, neurotic pill-popping person is shown in another scene.

Rosenne’s father, a radio man and interpreter, died ten years ago. One piece shows Rosenne visiting an elderly person, each visit disturbed by the mobile ‘phone ringing, taking the artist away till, on a final visit, he finds the old man is no longer there. Rosenne takes the old man’s jacket, hat and stick to a park bench, where we witness a sad and touching meeting between the two, brilliantly played and very poignant.

Hanoch Rosenne is one of those wonderful human beings who has not let go of his childlike naivete. His artistry is superb but his great strength is in his ability to make people happy. After the show, he stood in the foyer to, yet again, be with his audience.

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