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The Yiddish Are Coming!

Israeli actors stage Shakespearean classic in new Play House partnership. Bring your Hebrew dictionaries, just in case.


Just before Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon, Michael Bloom found himself in the Holy Land to spearhead an actor exchange program between an Israeli theatrical troupe and the Cleveland Play House. A ticket to see the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv's production of Hamlet cemented the deal, as did the city's surprisingly thriving live-entertainment scene. "They sell more or as many theater tickets as soccer tickets," says Bloom, the Play House's artistic director. Perhaps that's because of plays like Cameri's modern-day take on the Shakespearian classic, which Bloom describes as "by far the best production of Hamlet" he's ever seen. For starters, the troupe performs the play in Hebrew, with American audiences listening to translations through headphones. Then, there's the panoramic staging, which requires spectators to sit in swiveling chairs to see the action. "I just couldn't believe the vibrancy of the Israeli theater," says Bloom. "It was unlike anything I've ever experienced." Curtain times are 7:30 tonight and Saturday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Play House's Bolton Theatre, 8500 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $150. Call 216-795-7000 or visit
Thu., May 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., May 31, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 1, 2 & 7 p.m., 2008

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