By Colectivo Natuf


  • Spanish
  • 80 minutes
  • +14

13,000 kilometers away from Israel and Palestine, a group of Chileans descended from both nationalities try and understand a conflict that both separates and unites them at the same time.

El círculo is a project that came about as the result of the meeting of Andrea Giadach and Alejandra Díaz Scharager - one with Palestinian and the other with Jewish roots - and the dialogue that emerged as a result of their shared Chilean nationality. As a result of the concerns and questions raised, they brought together a group of Chilean creators of both origins and created a group called Natuf, named after the geographical location of the first pre-rural civilization in what is currently Palestine-Israeli territory, thus referencing the common origins of both nations. On stage, they try and create a theater play together: an attempt that reveals the strain between the strong identities linked to Israel and Palestine, both far-off and conflict-ridden lands. During this process, they’ll try and understand each other, staging the reality that connects them, using biographical, testimonial and fictitious material.

Created and researched by: Colectivo Natuf | Directed by: Andrea Giadach and Alejandra Díaz Scharager | Playwright: Andrea Giadach | Cast: Alejandra Díaz, Shlomit Baytelman, Samantha Manzur, Moisés Norambuena, Constantino Marzuqa, Antonio Zisis, Juan Carlos Saffie | Set, costume and lighting designer and lighting technician: Ana Luisa Campusano | Audiovisual records and research: Cristina Hadwa | Sound editing and sound creator: Marcello Martínez | Sound technician: Magdalena Llanos | Assistant playwright: Pablo Manzi | Projection creator: Niles Atallah | Creator of the endless map: Rafael Guendelman Hales | Puppet design and creation: Santiago Tobar | Executive producer: Alejandra Díaz Scharager | General producer: Emilia Morales.

The sensitivity with which it brings to the stage an issue as difficult to deal with as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It demonstrates how theater can help set up dialogue. “The group asks itself what it means to be Jewish or Palestinian both honestly and passionately (…) and how to explain how events so far away can cause an irreconcilable hostility between Chileans with these roots. It doesn’t aim to - nor does it have to - give any answers but, as its name indicates, the play’s an effort to break a vicious circle”, said El Mercurio, describing it as a production “that matters and must be seen”.

It was one of the most acclaimed Chilean plays of 2019, both for its execution and its performances. “A high point is when it gets to the exercises in ‘otherness’ - in other words, when the actors themselves play the part of a person from the other race who, to a certain extent, is the ‘enemy’. In this sense, Samantha Manzur playing a Jew during the Second World War particularly stands out”, highlighted Wikén Magazine.

It’s an unprecedented theater project for Chile and resulted in this creative group developing a foundation to open up dialogue between the two nations.

Documentary theater: This concept goes back to the second half of the twentieth century, when there was an interest in bringing political and historical issues to the stage, thus blurring the lines between fiction and reality. This kind of theater not only uses documents but also collects testimonies, presenting not only the facts themselves but also a more intimate, touching and personal side to the story.

Biodrama: This concept refers to drama created using autobiographies. According to the Argentine theater director Vivi Tellas, one of the people who came up with the term, it’s about exploring one’s own autobiography or that of someone else as possible dramatic material.

Collective creation: This is the name given to plays written not by one author but by a theater group which is collectively responsible for the writing of a piece in a creative process with several voices. It started being developed methodologically in the 1960s, as a way of breaking down the rigid notion that separated the concepts of director, author and text and as a way of questioning theater companies’ verticality.

Palestine and Israel in cinema and theater: The different sides to the conflict have been tackled both in films and in theater, with examples including Tierra del fuego (2013 and performed in Chile in 2014). This Argentine play, written by Mario Diament and starring Alejandra Darín, is based on the story of a survivor of an air raid carried out by a Palestinian group who meets one of his attackers 22 years later. Creoenunsolodios (2011) by Italian Stefano Massini brings together the monologues of three women: a Palestinian student who wants to make the ultimate sacrifice for her beliefs, a Jewish professor trying to be neutral and a North American soldier who is the mediator in a conflict he doesn’t understand. The film Paradise Now by Hany Abu-Assad (nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2005) tells the story of two Palestinian friends getting ready for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, while Munich (2005) by Steven Spielberg outlines the deaths of an Israeli delegation at the 1972 Olympic Games.

Natuf Foundation website, the result of the theater group’s work

—Samantha Manzur and Shlomit Baytelman invite us to watch El círculo on YouTube

El círculo on social media

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