Yakish and Poopche

A grim comedy

By Hanoch Levin

Directed and adapted by Yevgeny Arie and Shimon Mimran

 

Hanoch Levin defined "Yakish and Poopche"- his 19th play- as a "gloomy comedy". It is a story about two lonely people, Yakish and Poopche. Both are poor and hideously ugly and although they burn with desire to find a mate- no one wants them.  Eventually- with the help of a dubious matchmaker – the two come to the realization that life is not a beauty-parlor; one has no choice but to give up one's dreams and aspirations and take whatever life offers- even if it is only a rag. And so the two, as a last resort, join in matrimony but Yakish is so repelled by his wife's ugliness that he is unable to rise to the occasion and consummate the marriage. The desperate parents of the bride and the groom who spent their life savings on this match, the matchmaker- eager to get paid for services rendered and the brother-in-law- all join forces and embark on a wild and frenzied quest to enlist the services of an experienced whore so that "The Powerless" will finally mate with "The Shapeless". Finally, after hard labor, Yakish finally

manages somehow to perform his duties and the couple can thus live unhappily ever after.

 

The world that Levin creates is cruel, grim and devoid of illusion. In a way it is like hell where those who enter must abandon all hope. It is a bleak world inhabited by anti-heroes who live insignificant lives of degradation and humiliation. The battle is lost even before it begins. Disappointment is a daily commodity and there is no escape. Whether you are in Plachki, Palachinski, or Palooshki -all places look alike. Anywhere you go the same cat yawns thinking of immigrating. It is a pessimistic approach that is characteristic of the Theatre of the Absurd. Life is meaningless, God is absent, there is no underlying purpose and absurdity reigns free. The choice is never between happiness and unhappiness but between a great disaster and a lesser one. Man's lot is to come and go, leave a drop of semen, create another ugly life and depart. It is pointless to expect anything better. When Yakish meets the Princess he implores her to tell him "So what can I hope for? Nothing, right?"

 

In such a world "not to have been born would have been fantastic. Yet we were born, just to spite" Incompetence is both physical and mental, and as the old decrepit Turkwelt reminds us, we shall all eventually meet at six with a drooping organ and a resigned soul. Even death offers no solace for when we lie in the grave we realize that" we think we can get rid of the ugliness above- you have no idea what horror is down below, just as in life, only worse."  And yet the audience laughs. For in this absurd universe even the classical boundaries between comedy and tragedy no longer exist. The sublime and the ridiculous overlap, the comic and the tragic intermingle.

 

The director, Yevgeny Arie explores this "gloomy comedy" with panache. Yes, people are pathetically funny just as clowns who disguise their faces with heavy make-up and trot upon the stage of life making us laugh when we should cry. Yes, the world is as absurd as a circus but also as colorful. Humor highlights the misery and exposes man in all his naked misery, but humor also consoles. It is an extra pair of eyes given to us to see the world. For despite the hopelessness the heart palpitates with expectation, or as Yakish says:" The heart wants a place in the sun. I have desires and ambitions, so I can't give up".  Man will pay any price for a piece of dream, even one that can never be realized and in his loneliness man will always long for the warmth of a human embrace. It is a heartbreaking farce, so laugh, laugh yourself to tears. Humor can be poignant but it is also compassionate. And it all ends with the protagonists imploring the audience: "Remember us and if you will, prettier than we really were."  Forget our inadequacies. Remember us with humor, with compassion.

The set and the music are also major components of the production. The set of children's drawings  which is painted by the actors, transports us to the world of our lost childhood where everything was pure and magical. Childhood, that blissful short period in our life "when the heart trembled with magic…but slowly we shed our childhood garments and the magic was gone."  It is this lost magic that the set and the music are recreating for us as a constant reminder that "all that was beautiful in life we left behind in our childhood's beds". 

 

Crew:
Original Score - Avi Benjamin
Set Design & Costumes - Michael Kramenko
Choreography - Sharon Reshef-Armony
Lighting Design - Avi Iona Bueno (Bambi)

 

Cast:
Yakish Hooshpish - Ido Mosseri
Poopche Chroopche - Neta Shpigelman
He-Hooshpish - Yevgeny Terletsky
She-Hooshpish - Natalia Manor
He-Chroopche - Doron Tavori
She-Chroopche - Svetlana Demidov
Fortsedes the whore - Israel (Sasha) Demidov
Chupton Krooditser - Alon Friedman
Leibech - Alexander Senderovich
Turkvelt - Gilad Kletter

 

The Production is accompanied by a live orchestra

 

Reviews

"A special exciting production that combines the clownish and the childish, the poetic and the ridiculous. Excellent actors. One of the most original successful productions at the Gesher theatre. One of the best productions in Israel. Don't miss it! "

Yediot Acharonot

"An excellent show. Don't miss it! The best Levin production that I have seen. Outstanding actors. Yevgeny Arie has surpassed himself. His direction is a work of genius. One of the best productions in Israel"

Galei Zahal

"As the show begins and the actors dance into the stage to the tune of the orchestra (charming music by Avi Benjamin) it reminded me of Fellini's circus-world"

Ma'ariv

"The fantasy-circus of Yevgeny Arie is unequivocally one of the best, most original and most outstanding production in town"

Nana

"Don't miss it! An unexpected theatrical event, wild, mischievous that is pure genius. Levin's great texts sound better then ever. Brilliant clowning, bold ,colorful and awe-inspiring. Undoubtedly a theatrical miracle. An Excellent production"

Yediot Tel-Aviv

"A reason for a celebration"

Channel 1

"Excellent texts, fantastic humor and most importantly – unforgettable actors"

NRG

"A rare colorful festival, fresh, moving, almost classical. An unusually energetic circus"

Ha'eer

"The visual magic of Gesher and the magic of Hanoch Levin's writing create a colossal treasure"

Channel 3

"An amazing production! Gesher is reinventing a charming play. An amazing combination of acting, set & music. It's a celebration. A celebration of Hanoch Levin! Highly recommended"

Channel 10

"A masterpiece that can honorably represent Israel in every festival around the world. There are rare moments in life and art when all the components create a perfection. It happens at "Yakish & Poopche"

Globes

"Yevgeny Arie, Michael Kramenko the designer and the music of Avi Bejamin- celebrate an enjoyable folly of a colorful circus"

Ha'aretz

"A brilliant play and a brilliant interesting production…a grotesque comical aspect…very beautiful…Yevgeny Arie created a special vitality…"

Kol Israel

"Yakish and Poopche" – a production that is all magic"

Reshet Alef

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